Toronto, Jan. 23--Muslim women face discrimination in Toronto's job market if they wear the hijab - a Muslim religious headscarf- when applying for work, a study has found. The yearlong undercover study funded by a $100,000 grant from the municipal and federal governments and released Dec. 17 found that employers in Canada's most diverse city often reject women wearing the hijab in favor of identical candidates who don't.

Researchers chose three pairs of fake job applicants to visit 16 factories, fastfood outlets and retail stores in Toronto. They selected pairs of women who seemed virtually the same: Their resumes, ages, races, accents, countries of birth and experience in Canada were nearly identical.

At 12.5 percent of the sites, the visibly Muslim woman was told no job was available. Those without the head cover were immediately asked to fill out an application in 62.5 percent of the instances. Other responses were in between. Twenty-nine of the 32 Muslim women surveyed said prospective employers made a reference to their hijab. Twenty-one were asked if they could take the head cover off, and one-third were told flatly, "You must take it off if you want the job."

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