Principles & Policies for Managing Human Resources

2.2.3.  Barrier-Free Recruitment


Recruitment and selection in the Manitoba government must be inclusive and free of employment barriers.



  • Candidates must have fair and equal access to employment in the civil service with the goal of achieving a civil service workforce reflective of the citizens it serves.
  • The recruitment process should attract, rather than discourage, applications from people with diverse backgrounds.
  • Staffing processes and practices must adhere to legislated requirements under The Civil Service Act, The Human Rights Code and The Accessibility for Manitobans Act and regulations.



Care must be taken at each step of the staffing process to ensure that no employment barriers are present, and that recruitment efforts are consistent with the Manitoba Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and applicable Diversity and Inclusion Department Plans.



Primary job functions, key responsibilities, and qualifications stated in the document must be based on bona fide occupational requirements for the position.  When developing educational qualifications, avoid asking for a specific degree or diploma without allowing for equivalent combinations of education and experience, unless the degree or diploma is a legislated requirement for the position.

See 2.1.1 Selection Criteria, General Position Description Guide and Hay Position Description Guide for more information.



Before moving to fill a vacant position through a competitive process, consideration must first be given to whether the vacancy would make a suitable accommodation for an employee that is away from work for medical reasons, or whether the position could be filled by someone from the re-employment or employment availability lists.

Should no suitable candidates be found, the Human Resource Practitioner and hiring manager must develop a recruitment strategy that is reflective of the public interest, and consistent with the principles of merit, fairness and equity.

See 2.1.0 Staffing Methods for additional options and information relating to development of an appropriate recruitment strategy.



Selection criteria must be based on bona fide occupational requirements and founded in the qualifications and duties identified in the position description. 

When deriving selection criteria from the qualifications and duties listed in the position description, you must avoid introducing barriers that might exclude potential candidates (eg. credential, experiential, circumstantial, etc.).  Equivalency must be considered for any experience requirements that are specific to the position, with a focus on the skills that a candidate would require in order to be able to perform the work successfully.

Conditions of Employment must also represent bona fide occupational requirements for the position.  Ensure that conditions are as specific as possible (eg. instead of requiring that candidates be physically capable of performing the position duties, specify the physical requirements in detail), and that they address the true requirements for the position (eg. requiring the ability to travel frequently to rural locations, instead of requiring a driver's licence). 

See 2.1.1 Selection Criteria for further information.



The advertising medium must be appropriate to the position and consistent with outreach efforts (for example, JOW, print advertising, local job postings) and must indicate that alternate formats are available upon request.  When posting locally, you must also ensure that the physical location of the posting is accessible and does not create a barrier to anyone who may be interested.    

Qualifications and duties stated in the advertisement must be consistent with the bona fide occupational requirements and related criteria identified during the position description development and selection criteria development stages.  At minimum, the advertisement must list any criteria that will be used as part of the initial screening assessment, as well as any conditions of employment that must be met.  Ads must be clear, concise, and written using a plain-language approach.

See the Job Opportunities Advertising Guide for more information on how to write an effective advertisement that is free of barriers.



When determining minimum requirements to satisfy each screening criterion, you must avoid introducing experiential barriers such as a number of years of experience, or experience with a specific process or task without equivalency.

Criteria such as a candidate's place of residence, recency of education or experience, gaps in work history and quality of the resume must not be considered when screening candidates.

See 2.3.1 Screening and 2.3.2 Assessing Candidates for more information.



Assessment methods must be:

  • Standardized (can be administered consistently to all candidates).
  • Objective (responses can be interpreted and scored using a consistent rating method).
  • Valid (Allows candidates to demonstrate the skill or knowledge being sought by the selection criterion).

Assessment methods must be designed in a way that allows for reasonable accommodation should it be required by a candidate with special needs or medical restrictions.  Written exercises and panel interviews should be able to be administered equitably whether a candidate attends in person or by distance.  Locations chosen to conduct assessments or interviews must be reasonably accessible.  At each stage of assessment, an active-offer approach must be used to ensure that candidates have the opportunity to request accommodation if required.  See the Procedure for Inviting Candidates for Assessment for more information.

Minimum requirements or answer key information for each assessment method must be appropriate to the level of the position, and must not contain barriers (eg. years of experience, specific educational degrees, or specific government experience) unless they represent bona fide occupational requirements for the position.

Avoid discussing candidates' accommodation requirements in relation to the position at the time of assessment or interview.  This information, including any concerns about accommodation required to meet a condition of employment, must only be discussed at the time an offer of employment is being made.

See 2.3.2 Assessing Candidates for more information.



Reference checks must be conducted objectively and in relation to the selection criteria established for the competition.  See 2.3.4 Reference Check and the Reference Check Template when determining appropriate reference information to collect.

Matters relating to a candidate's prior medical accommodations or medical condition must NOT be discussed as part of the reference check process.



As appropriate, accommodation in relation to the requirements of the position must be actively offered to the successful candidate at the time of verbal offer, particularly when there are conditions of employment that must be met. 

Once a verbal agreement has been reached, use the Letter of Offer Template to ensure that all necessary information relating to the offer is included, including confirmation of any conditions of employment and accommodation details. 



Bona Fide Occupational Requirement (BFOR):  Requirements or qualifications for the job that are required in good faith and are reasonably necessary to the safe and efficient performance of the employment or occupation.

Barrier Definitions:

  • Credential:  Occurs when a position requires a specific type of credential that is not legally required to perform the duties of the position (for example, requiring a bachelor's degree where a candidate could obtain the required knowledge through other means, such as prior work experience or other forms of education).
  • Experiential:  Occurs where specific experience is required where other types of experience may be transferrable and would provide similar benefit (for example, asking for Canadian experience, specific years of experience, or recent experience except where an occupation has changed significantly).
  • Knowledge:  Occurs when specific knowledge is required that could be reasonably learned on the job or equivalent similar knowledge obtained elsewhere (for example, requiring knowledge of internal policies/procedures, or requiring knowledge of specific legislation rather than the ability to interpret and apply laws).
  • Abilities/Skills:  Occurs when asking candidates to demonstrate through past achievements that they possess the skill/ability as opposed to displaying potential as part of the selection process.
  • Level:  Occurs when the amount of experience or level of skill/ability requested is not proportional to the position (for example, requiring the same level and type of interpersonal skills used to assess a social worker for an administrative assistant position).
  • Circumstantial:  Occurs when a position requires the incumbent to satisfy a specific requirement, rather than stating the requirement in terms of demand for the position and allowing for that demand to be satisfied by a variety of means (for example, requiring a specific location of residence or possession of a driver's license rather than the ability to respond to call-out within a specific timeframe or the ability to travel regularly to rural locations).
  • Informational:  Occurs when information about the employment opportunity, such as location, duties, qualifications or working conditions are insufficient or inaccurate, deterring candidates from applying.
  • Physical/Architectural:  When the design, layout or construction of a physical location creates a barrier to a person who may wish to apply or interview for a job opportunity (for example, holding interviews in a location that is not wheelchair accessible, or is not accessible via public transportation).
  • Attitudinal:  Occurs when participants in the selection process bring pre-conceptions, biases, or stereotypes about certain groups (for example, that people declaring as having a disability won't be suitable to perform physical work).
  • Technological:  Occurs when the technology used to assess a particular qualification or ability is not reasonable in relation to the nature of the position (for example, requiring a candidate to use a computer to conduct a written assignment when most writing done by the position is normally done by hand).



Civil Service Commission

  • Identify and remove barriers throughout the recruitment and selection process.
  • Monitor application of the policy through the staffing audit process.


  • Ensure that position descriptions are free of employment barriers and that all stated requirements for positions are bona fide.
  • Work in collaboration with Human Resources to identify and remove barriers throughout the recruitment and selection process.




1.5.0 Employment Equity

3.1.3 Reasonable Accommodation


OTHER RESOURCES (if required)

Staffing Toolkit


Effective date: September 22, 2009

Revised: June 9, 2014


Table of Contents  -  Back to Top