CASL condemns discriminatory comments from Kitchener Employer

TORONTO, July 13, 2016 /CNW/ - No one should be denied employment opportunities because of their ethnic background, urges the Canadian Association of Somali Lawyers ("CASL"), a national organization of Somali-Canadian legal professionals.

In the spring of 2015, Mr. Jama Hagi-Yusuf, a Somali-Canadian, applied for a position as an Investment Advisor Assistant with Integral Wealth Securities Limited. Within a few hours, Mr. J. Sandy Matheson, an investment advisor with the company, responded with the following:

"I have read stories about how Somalia has a culture of resistance to authority. Such a culture would be quite different than the Canadian culture sees makes cutting ahead in a lineup as a great social error.

"The investment industry is a subculture with its own rules and traditions. It is normal for people to train for entry into this field. While your academic career suggests the training would be well within your competence, there is no demonstrated enthusiasm in past experience for entering this subculture.

"Due to lack of background, I must decline your application.

"Good luck with finding a suitable position."

CASL strongly condemns the negative and stereotypical comments about Somalia and Somali-Canadians expressed by Mr. Matheson, on behalf of Integral Wealth Securities Limited. To suggest that a person would be wholly unsuitable to work in a particular position because of their ethnicity, ancestry or place of origin is not only contrary to the Ontario Human Rights Code, but repugnant to the principles of diversity and inclusiveness that we hold dear as Canadians.

CASL maintains that Mr. Hagi-Yusuf's experience is a shocking reminder to many of us, especially to those of us who come from racialized communities and/or equity seeking groups, that we have a long way to go in our battle against racism and discrimination in all its forms.

We urge Integral Wealth Securities Ltd. to take immediate steps to address  Mr. Matheson's conduct, to ensure their employees receive human rights and anti-discrimination/harassment training, and to take active steps in ensuring they recruit employees from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds.

Note: CASL relies on the facts obtained from several media agencies with respect to Mr. Hagi-Yusuf's experience.

SOURCE Canadian Association of Somali Lawyers

For further information: Canadian Association of Somali Lawyers, Email:, Tel: (647)-646-9517

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