People cast their shadows on the sidewalks as they make their way home after work in downtown Toronto on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

People cast their shadows on the sidewalks as they make their way home after work in downtown Toronto on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

30% of minority Canadians experienced discrimination at work: survey

The percentage was higher for Indigenous respondents at 40 per cent

Thirty-per cent of Canadians who identify with a specific diversity group, including visible minorities and LGBTQ, have experienced at least one incident of discrimination at their current employer, a new survey suggests.

The poll, commissioned by the Boston Consulting Group’s Centre for Canada’s Future, found that 33 per cent of women said they had encountered at least one discriminatory incident, as did 33 per cent of LGBTQ and 34 per cent of those who identify as people of colour.

The percentage was higher for Indigenous respondents at 40 per cent, and for those with a disability at 41 per cent, according to the survey.

“That’s too high,” said BCG’s managing director and senior partner Nan DasGupta in an interview.

“It’s probably not what most Canadians would feel comfortable with in terms of how we think about the inclusivity of our culture, of our society, and our workplaces. So we think there is a lot of work to do still.”

BCG’s Centre for Canada’s Future, a non-profit arm of the consulting company focused on examining issues of importance to Canada, surveyed 5,082 working Canadians at companies with more than 1,000 employees in a variety of industries and roles.

The poll was conducted via an online panel from April 10 to May 1.

According to the polling industry’s generally accepted standards, online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.

While there is room for improvement, the survey’s results showed that Canadians fared better than similar countries when it came to obstacles to diversity and inclusion in recruitment, retention, advancement and leadership commitment at their companies, said DasGupta.

For example, among LGBTQ respondents, 24 per cent said there were obstacles in employee retention, compared with 32 per cent in Australia, 33 per cent in Denmark, Norway and Finland, 35 per cent in the U.K. and 36 per cent in the U.S.

Also, about 30 per cent of female respondents said there obstacles in recruitment, compared with 38 per cent in Australia, 39 per cent in the United Kingdom, 33 per cent in the U.S. and 31 per cent in Denmark, Norway and Finland, the BCG survey showed.

“Actually, the Canadian results fare pretty well… fewer people see obstacles on most dimensions,” DasGupta said.

However, Canada lagged behind the three Nordic countries sampled when it came to respondents views on obstacles in retention, advancement and leadership for women. DasGupta noted that Nordic nations have more progressive policies in terms of family benefits and gender equality.

“We still fare quite well compared to the other developed countries, but the Nordics have made much greater strides,” she said.

As well, the poll’s findings showed that those at the top were more optimistic about the company’s progress on diversity and inclusion than the actual employee base. For example, 52 per cent of Canadian executives surveyed said the firm had made progress in improving diversity in its top management team over the past one to three years, but just 40 per cent of non-executives agreed.

“Executive groups are actually skewed towards people who don’t have diversity as part of their makeup, and so they are a little bit less aware of some of the obstacles and don’t perceive the biases as much,” said DasGupta.

However, she noted, those at the upper levels of the firm are also more aware of diversity and inclusion initiatives that are underway.

DasGupta says that one way to push for progress is for executives to communicate the importance of these initiatives not just to the C-suite, but to middle managers as well.

“Make sure that if you are prioritizing this as a company, and you should, that that is getting disseminated and cascaded down to all of your leaders… Because we already know that that’s really what shapes the experience of most employees.”

READ MORE: B.C. woman files human rights complaint alleging racial discrimination by former boss

Armina Ligaya, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A locked gate prevents access to a logging road on Mosaic Forests land in 2017. (ELENA RARDON/ Alberni Valley News)
ACRD, Mosaic form working group for public access to forest lands

Pilot project will allow increased public access on a trial basis to Scout Beach and Lowry Lake

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

The Alberni Valley’s Emergency Operations Centre is located around the corner and below the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District office. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)
ACRD, First Nations to partner on regional evacuation route

Union of BC Municipalities grants $82K for route development

Traffic on Cherry Creek Road is at a standstill as emergency vehicles deal with the aftermath of a collision on Saturday, March 6, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY TONY SHUMUK)
Air ambulance called for motor vehicle incident near Port Alberni

Helicopter lands on field near Cherry Creek Road

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs have teamed up with the WCGH Foundation in the past to deliver stuffed animals to patients at the hospital. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Alberni Valley Bulldogs hope to score large donation for West Coast General Hospital

Challenge is part of a league-wide initiative to help give back to teams’ communities

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is administered to a personal support worker at the Ottawa Hospital on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 in Ottawa. Doctors in Alberta have signed an open letter asking for prioritized vaccination of health-care staff who work directly with patients on dedicated COVID-19 units. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
COVID vaccines for seniors in B.C.: Here’s how to sign up

Seniors 90+, Indigenous seniors 65+ and Indigenous Elders can book starting March 8

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

Most Read