Metropolis British Columbia
Racism in the Workplace
Challenges Facing Visible Minorities
in the Workplace: An Overview
Debbie Nider, Racism Prevention Officer
Racism-Free Workplace Strategy
Labour Program, Pacific North West Region
Canada’s Legal Framework for Diversity
 1947 – Canadian Citizenship Act
 1948 – International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of
the Crime of Genocide (Canadian ratification in 1952) & Universal
Declaration of Human Rights
 1958 – International Convention concerning Discrimination in Respect
of Employment and Occupation (Canadian ratification in 1964)
 1960 – Canadian Bill of Rights
 1963 – Establishment of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and
 1965 – International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Racial Discrimination (Canadian ratification in 1970)
 1969 – Official Languages Act
 1971 – Canada’s Multiculturalism Policy
Canada’s Legal Framework for Diversity
 1976 – Immigration Act
 1977 – Canadian Human Rights Act
 1979 – Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination
against Women (Canadian ratification in 1981)
 1982 – Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
 1984 – Special Parliamentary Committee Report, Equality Now, calls
for a multiculturalism act
 1985 – Equality Rights article (Section 15) of the Cdn. Charter of
Rights and Freedoms enters into force
 1986 – Employment Equity Act
 1988 – Canadian Multiculturalism Act
 1990 – Canadian Race Relations Foundation Act
Racism Free Workplace Strategy
 Part of the “Canada’s Action Plan Against Racism”
– Canadian Heritage
– Justice Canada
– Citizenship & Immigration Canada
– HRSDC – Labour Program
 Racism Free Workplace Strategy
– Remove employment barriers and promote the upward
mobility of Visible Minorities and Aboriginal Peoples
 8 RPOs - Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montréal &
RPO Role – Who We Work With
 Employers within the:
– Federal Contractors Program (FCP) &
– Legislated Employment Equity Program (LEEP)
 Workplace Equity Officers & Workplace Equity
Technical Advisors
 Stakeholder organizations such as:
Visible Minority & Aboriginal Communities
Federal, Provincial, Municipal and Territorial Governments
Federal & Provincial Human Rights Commissions
Challenges Facing Visible Minorities in the
 Recognition of credentials and experience
 Lack of money, lack of computer skills, loss of selfconfidence, lack of space in daycare centres
 Language – lack of French and/or English skills
 Cultural barriers – lack of information about the labour
market and its rules
 Systemic obstacles
 Discrimination and racism
 Any action, policy, practice or behaviour
which is detrimental to a person or group of
persons, which limits or denies a person or
group of persons opportunities, privileges,
roles or rewards based on race.
Stereotyping in the Workplace and Impacts on
Visible Minorities
Stereotypes are:
 Generalizations used to distinguish a group
 Typically exaggerated or oversimplified descriptions
 Often offensive
 The foundation of prejudice and discrimination
 ‘Positive’ and ‘Negative’
Barriers to Inclusion: Interviewing and NonVerbal Differences / “Body Language”
Minimal Eye Contact
Hiding Something
Not Trustworthy
Respect Authority
Head movements
Shake means ‘no’ or
‘I’m not sure
Lack of confidence
Shake means ‘yes,’ ‘I
agree,’ ‘I am listening
and understand your
Pakistan, Southern
Language Styles
Short abrupt answers
mean not friendly,
impolite, uneducated
Curt phrases are limited
for courtesy
Lack of knowledge
Show Respect for
Give thought to
Eastern cultures
CHRC Prohibited Grounds
National or Ethnic Origin
Sexual Orientation
Marital Status
Sex (including pregnancy)
Family Status
Pardoned Conviction
Demographics: Visible Minorities 2006 Census
 Canada’s total population = 31,241,030
 Visible Minorities accounted for 16.2% of Canada’s
total population = 5,068,100
 The Visible Minority population increased 5 times
faster than the growth rate of the total population
 This trend is expected to continue well into 2017
 Growth in Visible Minority population due to
newcomers to Canada
Demographics Visible Minorities con’t..
 Chinese and Blacks are respectively the 2nd and 3rd
largest Visible Minority groups (South Asians are #1).
 96% of Visible Minority population live in a CMA
(census metropolitan area)
 More than half of the Visible Minority workforce are
concentrated in ON (54%), BC (20%), QC (12%)
 Visible Minorities are younger than the total
population. 46.5% are at the working age of 25-54.
Demographics Visible Minorities (con’t)
 By the year 2011, immigration will be the sole source
of net labour force growth, and almost 90% of these
immigrants will be visible minorities
It is projected that by the year 2017:
 One Canadian in five could be a Visible Minority
 Half of the population in Toronto and Vancouver may
be Visible Minorities
BC Visible Minority Population (Statistics
Canada – Census 2006)
South Asian
Southeast Asian
Projections 2031: from “Projections of the diversity of the
Canadian population, 2006-2031”, Statscan
 Between 29%-32% of the population could belong to a visible
minority group as defined in the Employment Equity Act
 Vast majority (96%) of people belonging to a visible minority
group would continue to live in one of the 33 census
metropolitan areas
 By 2031: Visible minority groups would comprise
– 63% of Toronto
– 59% of Vancouver
– 38% of Calgary
– 31% of Montreal
Projections 2031: from a Leger Marketing Poll done for the
Association for Canadian Studies
 Prediction – by 2031 one in three Canadians will belong to a
visible minority group and
 One person in 4 will be foreign-born
 The Abbotsford-Mission region is predicted to rank 3rd most
visibly diverse market (39% of the population) after Toronto and
Vancouver, slightly more than Calgary (38%)
RFWS Tools and Resources:
Training Workshops
 Building A Business Case for Racial Diversity
 Introduction to Diversity
 Building Inclusive Workplaces
 Diversity in the Canadian Workplace: Experiences of Visible
 Work for All: Stop Racism In the Workplace – an NFB
 Inclusive Recruitment Strategies & Interviewing Techniques
 Duty to Accommodate
Debbie Nider
Racism Prevention Officer
Racism Free Workplace Strategy
Phone:604-872-4384 Ext. 783
Thank you!

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