Though pervasive racism marks every aspect of the American economy, Canada, too, is plagued by institutional racism.
Despite our reputation as an egalitarian society, especially in contrast to our southern neighbour, “Canada remains a nation where a person’s colour, religion, culture or ethnic origin are determinants of health that result in inequities in social inclusion, economic outcomes, personal health, and access to and quality of health and social services,” according to a 2018 report from the Public Health Association.
Researchers came to this conclusion after analyzing data from 97 different field experiments in Sweden, Norway, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Germany, England, the United States, and Canada. Racial discrimination levels were the highest in France and Sweden.
Discriminatory hiring practices, in fact, were found to be significant and pervasive in every single country researched.
Researchers say to keep in mind that the nine countries studies were the only ones that matched the outlined criteria for inquiry. To be included, countries needed to have at least three completed, in-depth field experiments about discriminatory hiring.
The study notes that France has the highest discrimination rates, followed by Sweden. They found smaller differences among Great Britain, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, the United States, and Germany.
They collected data from over 200,000 fictitious job applications, categorizing each by visible minorities and “white-sounding” names. Shockingly, Canada discriminates 11% more than the U.S. does.
Researchers also note that the countries studied are under inquiry because they implement the most proactive anti-discrimination hiring laws. This means that even though the numbers indicate one thing, the reality could be totally different.
It would be a tough sell for most Canadians, but the numbers indicate that we have more than a few discrimination problems to deal with.
Though, there is a margin of error when it comes to studies like these. Discrimination levels will vary from region and occupation. Asian-Canadians, for example, will experience discrimination in job applications because they tend to apply to managerial positions, according to the study.
In fact, critics are quick to point out that discrimination in Canada happens at a higher level due to people’s associations with ethnicities in a workplace, according to Global News.
Despite a possible skew in the numbers, Canada still has a lot of work to do. According to Dr. Eddy Ng at Dalhousie University, Canada needs to update its Employment Equity Act – a law that hasn’t been reviewed since 1995.
Will Canada update and review its employment discrimination policies before it potentially gets worse? Only time will tell.
In the meantime, Canada is still one of the most progressive nations in the world and just last year, the country settled more refugees than anywhere else.