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

Stephanie Higginson, president of the B.C. School Trustees Association, says people need to focus their attention on the upcoming byelection in Chilliwack. (BCSTA image)
‘Let’s not talk about Barry’ says BCSTA president on Chilliwack trustee

Higginson says impending Chilliwack byelection will require ‘laser focus’ to ensure balance of power

New Chilliwack Chief Ray Fust.
Chilliwack Chief Ray Fust in the mix for Swiss U20 roster spot

Fust is hoping to make the team that will compete in the World Junior Hockey Championships

An employee at a Chilliwack McDonald’s location tested positive for COVID on Nov. 21 (File photo by The Associated Press)
Employee tests positive for COVID-19 at McDonald’s restaurant in Chilliwack

One case was detected at the Vedder Road location, which briefly closed its doors

Asbestos bag from 2011. (Chilliwack Progress file)
New limits coming for asbestos at the Bailey Landfill in Chilliwack

Restricted to 20 bags per day per property because they don’t have capacity for larger loads

Cascade Falls Regional Park is one of several Fraser Valley parks that saw record usage during the summer of 2020. (File photo)
Residents flock to Fraser Valley parks amid pandemic

Some trails saw usage double during summer months of 2020

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

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

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

Most Read