TORONTO, January 9, 2001 - Good jobs and promotions elude many visible minorities and Aboriginal peoples who believe that subtle forms of racism prevail in the workplace according to a new study released today by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.
The study, Unequal Access: A Canadian Profile of Racial Differences in Education, Employment and Income, written by Jean Lock Kunz, Anne Milan, and Sylvain Schetagne from the Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD) is based on recent quantitative statistics and focus group discussions with visible minorities and Aboriginal peoples in cities across Canada.The study reveals that:
"Clearly the talents of Aboriginal peoples and visible minorities are being under-utilized or wasted as a result of systemic discrimination. This is not good for the productivity of the Canadian economy and the cohesion of our society,." says Dr. Kunz, senior research associate at the CCSD
Focus group participants identified three factors critical to employment as being post-secondary education, the right skill set and a booming economy. However, Canada's booming economy is not translating into equitable access to employment for Aboriginal peoples and visible minorities who still face polite racism when job hunting. Racism is a hidden thing in the workplace, and subtle discrimination includes being passed over for promotion and senior positions often held mainly by white Canadians. A disturbing revelation in the study is that even with post-secondary education, job opportunities may still be out of reach for Aboriginal peoples and that Aboriginal youth lagged far behind in their rates of university completion compared to all other groups.
"This report should be required reading for employers in both the public and private sectors," says the Honourable Lincoln Alexander, chair of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. "The results demonstrate that we need to make greater efforts to eliminate systemic discrimination in Canada."
Moy Tam, chief operating officer of the Foundation, says that although employment equity laws can play an important role in reducing employment and income disparities, a more sophisticated range of solutions is needed. "Employment equity alone is not a panacea for eliminating racial discrimination in the workplace," says Tam. "We also need to eliminate the barriers faced by immigrants in accessing professions and trades and put more effort into raising public awareness about the existence of systemic discrimination in the workplace. The challenge for recent immigrants is to have their credentials recognized."
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation opened its doors in November, 1997. It operates at arm's length from the federal government and works at the forefront of efforts to combat racism and all forms of racial discrimination in Canada. The Canadian Council on Social Development is a voluntary, non-profit organization whose mission is to develop and promote progressive social policies inspired by social justice, equality and the empowerment of individuals and communities through research, consultation, public education and advocacy.