Additional measures to help prevent discrimination now in effect
The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) and the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) are welcoming Facebook’s stance on discriminatory job ads, along with those for housing and credit opportunities in Canada.
The two commissions had called for action from the social media giant in 2019, concerned that the platform allowed ads to be targeted in ways that excluded people based on protected characteristics, such as age or gender, contrary to Canada’s federal and provincial human rights laws.
“Ensuring that available housing, employment and credit opportunities are advertised without discrimination and in line with human rights laws is imperative. The new safeguards that have been implemented and are now being enforced are an important part of achieving this,” say Ena Chadha and Marie-Claude Landry, chief commissioners at the two commissions.
“Moving forward, the CHRC and OHRC look forward to seeing the operation of the new Canadian advertising safeguards and the further steps that Facebook takes to protect against discrimination.”
Facebook should be a place where everyone has an equal opportunity to find new homes, start great careers, and gain access to credit, says a spokesperson.
“We’re grateful for input from the Ontario and Canadian Human Rights Commissions in helping us better serve our community.”
In early 2020, Facebook notified advertisers that it would be enforcing additional measures to help prevent discrimination in ads as of Dec. 3, 2020.
The changes include restricting advertisers’ ability to target ads that offer employment opportunities based on age, gender, postal code or any other detailed options “describing or appearing to relate to protected characteristics.”
At a high level, the measures include:
- Restricting the ability of advertisers to target ads that offer housing, employment and credit opportunities based on age, gender, postal code, or any other detailed options describing or appearing to relate to protected characteristics, and expanding enforcement of these restrictions across all the tools businesses use to buy ads.
- Providing access to all employment, housing and credit opportunity ads in the Ad Library, so it will be easy to search for and view all such active ads targeted to Canada, regardless of whether you are in the advertiser’s intended audience. Ads that offer housing, employment and credit opportunities targeted to Canada will be included in the Ad Library later this year.
Facebook says it requires all advertisers to certify compliance with the non-discrimination policy in order to run ads on Facebook.
“We've designed the certification experience in consultation with outside experts to underscore the difference between acceptable ad targeting and ad discrimination.”
The company is also proactively looking for bad ads, and investigating concerns when they are raised.
“We’re also investing heavily in more people and better technology so that we constantly improve over time.”
Despite increased efforts around diversity and inclusion, many working Canadians continue to experience discrimination, according to a survey released in November.
Canada could lose as many as 1.2 million jobs by the year 2028 because of automation, and key demographic groups such as Black and Indigenous individuals are more susceptible to job loss depending on their occupation, according to a report from the C.D. Howe Institute.