The Canadian Human Rights Act prohibits determining employability based on age, race, ancestry, colour, sex, marital status, physical/mental ability, place of origin, political beliefs, family status, and sexual orientation. Therefore, it is considered inappropriate to ask questions of this nature during an interview.
However, there are situations where it may be entirely appropriate to ask questions “typically” considered inappropriate. For instance: if you are interviewing for a position in another country, the topic of culture, religion, and family status may arise. It is important for you to determine the suitability of the question.
You may on occasion be asked inappropriate questions if the interviewer is: curious to know more about you, inexperienced in their role as an interviewer and unfamiliar with the appropriateness of the question, or probing for information based on a hidden agenda
Tips in Responding to Illegal Questions
If you are comfortable answering the question and do not think it is inappropriate in the situation, you may choose to respond. If you think the interviewer is unaware that they have asked an inappropriate question, you could provide them the benefit of the doubt and ask if they may please re-phrase the question. If you feel uncomfortable, diplomatically request clarification on the relationship between the question and the job requirements.
In Canada, employers are not permitted to ask questions about the following topics to prevent discrimination: place of origin, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or financial situation. You have the option of not answering the question by indicating the question is prohibited by law or deflecting by asking to skip the question.