Visible minorities left behind

‘It seems like the colour of your skin is a major contributing factor’

A new report suggests Canada’s labour market may not be as fair and equitable for visible minorities as we like to think.

According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Wellesley Institute joint report a discernible income gap exists between non-white and white workers.

“We like to say this is a story about immigration — people come to this country pay their dues for a few years… and then even things up” says Sheila Block director of economic analysis for the Wellesley Institute. “This data suggests that it’s not the only story.”

Using data from the 2006 federal long-form census the report suggests visible minorities earned almost 20 per cent less compared to white workers in the same age and education level from 2000 to 2005.

During that time non-whites saw their income decline 0.2 per cent while income for white Canadians grew 2.7 per cent. Visible minorities also experienced higher unemployment and minority families were three times as likely to live in poverty as white families.

“It seems like the colour of your skin is a major contributing factor to how much you’re going to get paid where you’re going work whether you’re going to find a job” says Block.