Human Rights Issues

Protected Grounds

In B.C., the HRC grounds protected from discrimination in employment are:

  • race
  • colour
  • ancestry
  • place of origin
  • political belief
  • religion
  • marital status (includes married, single, widowed, divorced, separated, or living common law)
  • family status  (includes having children, or not having children)
  • physical or mental disability
  • sex
  • sexual orientation, gender identity or expression  (includes heterosexual, bisexual, gay mean or lesbian women)
  • age (19 and over)
  • criminal or summary conviction that is unrelated to the employment

The B.C. HRC differs from other jurisdictions, as not all protected grounds apply to each area of protection. Click here and scroll down for a chart that summarizes the protected grounds under the HRC.

Under the Canadian Human Rights Act, the “protected grounds”, or the group characteristics, protected from discrimination are:

  • race
  • national or ethnic origin
  • colour
  • religion
  • age
  • sex (includes protection for males and females, sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, and transgendered discrimination)
  • sexual orientation (includes protection for heterosexual, bi- sexual, gay men and lesbian women)
  • marital status and family status (includes protection if you are married, single, widowed, divorced, separated, or living common law)
  • disability
  • gender identity or expression
  • conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted

In Alberta, the AHRA grounds protected from discrimination in employment are:

  • race
  • religious beliefs
  • gender
  • gender identity, gender expression
  • physical disability
  • mental disability
  • age
  • ancestry
  • place of origin
  • marital status
  • source of income
  • family status or sexual orientation of that person or of any other person

Click here for a chart that summarizes the protected grounds under the AHRA.

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