Majority of Canadians who are Black or Indigenous have experienced racism: survey

Dec 11 2019, 11:54 am

A new national survey of Canadians is taking a hard look at the reality of racism across the country.

The Race Relations in Canada 2019 Survey was put together by the Environics Institute for Survey Research, and the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, to serve as a “benchmark for indicators on race relations and provide the foundation for monitoring progress over time.”

Although multiculturalism as a policy is widely celebrated and discussed in Canada, the study shows that racism and experiences of discrimination still exist widely across the nation.

Canada is a very ethnically diverse country, with the study citing that more than four in ten Canadians are now first or second generation, and, in some parts of the country, “those once labelled as ‘visible minority’ are now the majority,” with one in five people categorized by Statistics Canada as “visible minority.”

According to the study, “many Canadians across different racial backgrounds report experiences of racism and discrimination due to race, and also recognize that it also affects others of their own race and from other racial groups.”

Of the racial groups surveyed, majorities of Black and Indigenous Canadians reported experiencing racism, with 54% of Black Canadians and 53% of Indigenous Canadians having personally experienced discrimination due to race or ethnicity “from time to time if not regularly.”

Such experience is also evident but less widely reported by those who are South Asian (38%), Chinese (36%), from other racialized groups (32%), or White (12%).

Canadians also acknowledged that those of other racial groups face discrimination due to race or ethnicity.

Canadians are most likely to believe that Indigenous Peoples (77%), Black people (73%), and South Asians (75%) experience discrimination often or occasionally.

By comparison, fewer – 54% believe this is the case for Chinese people in Canada.

A total of 5% of those surveyed say that racialized Canadians never experience discrimination.

According to the study, “Indigenous Peoples (especially First Nations) are noticeably less likely than others to see race relations as good or having improved over time, and to believe Canada compares favourably to the USA, while Black Canadians are also less positive about people from all races having an equal chance to succeed in life.”

“By comparison, Chinese and South Asian Canadians tend to be the most positive about current race relations.”

Despite this, the survey says that most Canadians believe that different racial groups generally get along with one another, with 81% saying that race relations in their own community are “generally good.”

In terms of how well people from different races get along with one another, 8% describe such relations as generally bad.

A positive view of race relations is held by 84% of those who are White, 83% of South Asians, 81% of Chinese individuals, 77% of those who are Black, and 69% of those who are Indigenous.

The study says that when it comes to optimism about future progress toward racial equality, this belief is most evident among young Canadians aged 18 to 29.

“Racialized Canadians expect the future will mean less rather than more racism for the next generation of people with their own background,” said the study.

The study says that while significant strides have made to address and support diversity in the country, “people with racialized identities and backgrounds face ongoing challenges.”

The research consisted of a survey conducted online between April 17 and May 6, 2019, with a sample of 3,111 Canadians ages 18 and over.

The full report is available online.