Although slavery is long over with, discrimination and mistreatment have not disappeared for Black Canadians. Canada has come a long way to overcome racism and prejudice, there considerable work that needs to be done. This page explores the situation in Ontario, home three out of Black Canadian. In 2006 Blacks were of 3.9% of the provincial population and the third largest visible minority.
Even though the Racial Discrimination Act was passed in Ontario in March 14th 1944, which prohibited the publication and display of any sign, symbol or notice that expressed racial, religious or ethnic discrimination, there has still been lots of public complaints and concerns about how racism is dealt with in Ontario. There was an incident in Dresden, Ontario in 1954, which was covered by the Toronto Telegram where two Black customers were refused service in two restaurants within the town.
Sadly, racists attitudes are not a thing of the past. An article in the Toronto Sun states about the gun shootings in Toronto “As long as it’s just blacks killing each other, whites don’t pay much attention.”. According to Statistics Canada, Ontario has the highest proportion of reported hate-crimes in Canada, with 5.7 incidents per 100,000 population in 2010. In Ontario, Black Canadians reported the most hate-crimes with 271 incidents. So Black Ontarians were seven times more likely than the average to be the victim of a hate crime. Not only do Black Canadians report hate-crimes to the police, but they also feel discriminated by the police. An investigation conducted by The Toronto Star in 2010, revealed that Black people are three to five times more likely than white people to be stopped and questioned by the police. In one neighbourhood they were 17 times more likely. A study conducted by Howard Sapers has shown there is a sharp, 50% increase in Black people in prison, so that now 20% of Ontario’s prison population is Black.
Discrimination is not just in the streets, it affects Blacks chances in job market as well. “Canada’s Colour Coded Labour Market”, a study conducted by Sheila Block and Grace-Edward Galabuzi for the Centre for Policy Alternatives, examined racialized and non-racialized groups in Canada. A racialized group is one that is treated as if they are different by society, In 2005 they found Blacks earned 75.6 cents for every dollar a non-racialized worker earns, for an annual earnings gap of $9,101. And that the unemployment rate was 73% higher for Blacks than for Whites.
Black Canadians continue to struggle with racial discrimination in Canada, even though promised a better life where everyone is equal. It is our job as citizens to educate ourselves on this problem and to fix it.
For more information on Blacks struggles from 1911 to 2005 please look at: