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.

Just Posted

Rob Kernachan editorial cartoon.
Editorial cartoonist focuses on Orange Shirt Day

Orange Shirt Day is the feature of Rob Kernachan’s contribution this week.… Continue reading

The grads of 2021 at Chemainus Secondary School will be resilient based on their experiences through COVID. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Making the most of grad events

Class of 2021 will carry resilience with them throughout their years based on COVID experience

COVID-19 has made the 2020-21 school year at Chemainus Secondary School interesting and challenging for graduates. (File photo by Don Bodger)
Chemainus Secondary School 2021 graduates

Here’s the young men and women who are embarking on life’s next journey

Girls just wanna have fun. From left: Danielle Dela Cruz, Melanie Cheng, Hanna Starkie, Camille Storteboom, Rebecca Rhode, Sian Diewert and Brianne Pamminger at the Crofton seawalk. (Photo by Alana Starkie)
Prom night brings some semblance of normalcy for 2021 Chemainus grads

Being together at least provides class members with some comfort

Tom Millard served his community well for so many years with the Chemainus Fire Department. (Photo submitted)
Millard dedicated himself to community service

Long-time Chemainus Fire Department member and chief remembered for his commitment

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

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

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

Most Read