The Canadian Viewpoint team has been paying very close attention to the protests both around the world and in our home town, Toronto, Canada. 57% of our team members are visible minorities compared to 52% of people in Toronto so we live and work with diversity as a regular part of our lives. It also means that we’ve had many conversations about diversity, what it means to us, and how we can live it in even better ways.
Given that our company offers data collection and fieldwork services for marketing and social research companies, we decided to do a very short questionnaire. Working with an external consultant, we launched a study of diversity with 306 adult Canadians from June 10 to 11, 2020. We asked just two questions – a 5 point rating scale question, and an open-ended discussion question.
Please think about how people of various ethnicities and backgrounds are treated in Canada as they go about their daily lives. On average, how do you feel about diversity and inclusion in Canada? (5 point scale)
Across the entire sample of 306 Canadians, 79% of people felt Very or Somewhat Positive about diversity and inclusion in Canada. About 11% were Not Sure, and about 9% felt Very or Somewhat negative. In general, Canadians feel good about diversity and inclusion in Canada. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)
However, the 9% of people who feel negatively about diversity in Canada are not evenly distributed across all demographic groups. In particular, Black people are least likely to feel positive as are people who have graduate degrees, and people who have apprenticeship or trade qualifications.
On the other hand, people who are Asian or who have completed some or all of a Bachelor’s degree feel more positively about diversity in Canada. It is clear that some demographic groups have different lived experiences and different educational experiences when it comes to diversity and inclusion in Canada.
To get a more nuanced understanding of how Canadians feel, we followed up with a second, open-ended question.
How do you think Canada can do a better job of being inclusive for people of all ethnicities? (Please type your answer in the box.)
People shared their opinions about a wide range of topics including employment, housing, safety, politics, religion, education, social services and more. You’ll soon see that while most people believe Canada is generally doing well, they can also describe many situations where they’d like Canada to do things differently, or do more to improve things. We’ve shared a few verbatim quotes from participants to demonstrate the variety of perceptions that exist. While you may not agree with them, it’s important to understand other people’s views.
Education: Many people feel that Canada needs to continue offering education in elementary school and high school that helps people understand the variety and contribution of cultures in Canada. Schools and families need to continue creating and offering opportunities for people to interact and coexist in positive ways.
“I think children should be taught about all different cultures in schools and adults in the workplace should have to learn about different cultures, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations and how to properly discuss these topics with their families & friends. I think learning about the history of different peoples would help those who may otherwise hold prejudices be made a little more aware and empathetic to those they deem different. Even if you don’t agree with a particular groups’ ideals, it’s easier to recognise commonalities and respect them once you’re open to learning a bit more of their backgrounds and their struggles.”
“Have open conversations in different spaces of the society (schools, universities, work, other organizations) to acknowledge that there are still inequities but at the same time be hopeful about the future and not assign blame or impose new burdens (for example too much politically correctness in language).”
Employment: Many people believe that Canada is already doing a great job when it comes to employment. However, there is always room to do things better or more fairly. For instance, executive leadership roles should show more diversity, pay inequalities need to be remedied, and a living wage should be possible.
“I am a strong believer in the best person for the job regardless of your ethnic background and feel Canada bends over backwards to accommodate everyone. The ones I feel sorry for today are the young single males who are looked over because they are not Indigenous, black, brown or LGBTQ+. It’s time for every individual in this country to stop feeling hard done by in society and spend their efforts on getting an education and a job instead of wasting their time protesting every little cause.”
“We have to have all ethnicities in advertising, in government ads, in jobs, e.g., police officers, fire fighters, and social workers. People then will know different cultures and learn their tradition. Including Indigenous people.”
Government: Some people feel that the Canadian government should put more effort into caring for the health and safety of their own people first, before offering extensive aid to other nations. This includes care for our indigenous people and ensuring they have adequate housing and clean water.
“In all fairness, the government should be taking care of our country’s people first and not worry about foreign diplomacy and allowing people to immigrate to our country and not looking after our own first. Our military families should not have to give up their military housing for immigrants to our country. Take care of our veterans who fought for our country and are now homeless and need help. They fought hard so our country can be free and now they’re homeless because all these immigrants have come to our country.”
“Canada already does enough. As a descendant of European descent with 8 generations of my family having loved in Canada, less needs to be done for other ethnicities and bring Canada back to its founders. Each Syrian refugee that came to Canada was given $48000 with no strings attached whole many came with plenty of money already. Canada needs to focus on the descendants of those who built Canada for once!”
Safety: Safety is a great concern for many Canadians, a heightened concern particularly because some of the recent protests were accompanied by riots. Many people recognize that our policing services aren’t perfect and that racist stereotypes are a part of every profession, including policing. Canada needs to do a better job of identifying problems with diversity and equitable treatment within the police system, and a better job of ensuring the police treat all Canadians equally and respectfully regardless of ethnicity and background.
“Listen to those with protest worthy concerns. Rename streets, even towns, and make changes to funding of things that will help to deal with those in crisis, those who need mental health help, and not police intervention.”
“Peaceful protests communicate issues to the public. Rioting, looting, and violence only create more mistrust and negativity toward the minority group promoting the issue. The law must make a more serious effort to be equal to all people, regardless of their race, colour, creed, sexual orientation, etc. There should be no different treatment of anyone because of their ethnicity nor any expectation of being excused from any consequences because of ethnicity.“
Entertainment: Some Canadians recognize that we need to do better when it comes to diversity of people in media, sports, television, or films. That holds for both behind the scenes creators, producers, and programmers, as well as out front for actors, artists, and celebrities.
“I think that there should be more opportunities for film writers and directors from diverse backgrounds so that they can use their platform to strengthen people’s awareness and to tell different stories that currently don’t get the same opportunities in today’s cinema”
As a person who has lived in both countries, I see that Canada showcases more food, movies, and apparel from other parts of the world than America.
Note: As with all non-probability samples, these data have both sampling and non-sampling error and margin of error does not apply.