Courts okay favouritism of Canadians for public-service jobs

Supreme Court of Canada divided over ruling which says non-citizens can apply — only if there are no qualified Canadians.
By Asha Tomlinson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/10/2003

In a deeply divided ruling, the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed it’s okay to favour Canadian citizens over non-citizens for public-service jobs.

The recent decision upholds a federal law that says non-citizens can only apply for permanent public-service jobs if there are no qualified Canadian candidates. In a 6-3 ruling, the majority of judges said the breach of equality rights of non-citizens is reasonable and justifiable.

“It only makes sense for a country as open and diverse as Canada to enact a policy that integrates its population,” Justice Michel Bastarache wrote on behalf of four majority-opinion judges. “The signal effect of the impugned provisions is not to discourage immigration, but to underscore the value of citizenship.”