The Hidden Job Market – Whiteness Has Its Privileges

© Copyright 2010 by Joseph Worrell. Reproduced with permission on Restructure!.

In February 2006, The Canadian Labour Congress presented a disturbing study on Canadian workers. The report maintained that Canadian-born visible minorities faced the highest barriers to steady, well-paying jobs of any group in the country.

Post 911 Arab-West Asians came in first with a 14% unemployment rate, Blacks at 11.5% and Latin Americans at 10.5%. Aboriginal Canadians also failed to reap many job rewards but statistics curiously grouped them with unemployed Euro-Canadians.

The Labour Congress’ study caused a bit of quandary, except among those who are already “in the know” about the dilemma.

Leslie Cheung, of Simon Fraser University, declared the report could not disavow “workplace inequality with education disparities because non-White Canadians are better educated as a whole than native-born Whites and immigrants”. The Labour Congress predicts the situation to worsen as huge numbers of non-White young people enter the job market.

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Visible Minorities in Canada 2006

Visible minorities made up 16.2% of the total population in Canada in 2006, according to the newly-released 2006 Census data.

South Asian, 4.2%. Chinese, 3.9%. Black, 2.5%. Individuals who are not visible minorities, 84.5%.

Visible minorities are defined as “persons, other than Aboriginal persons, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour.”

Interestingly, South Asians have surpassed Chinese as the largest visible minority group.

The South Asians became Canada’s largest visible minority group in 2006, surpassing Chinese for the first time. The populations of both were well over 1 million.

The 2006 Census enumerated an estimated 1,262,900 individuals who identified themselves as South Asian, a growth rate of 37.7% from 917,100 individuals in 2001. They represented one-quarter (24.9%) of all visible minorities, or 4.0% of the total population in Canada.

In contrast, the number of individuals who identified themselves as Chinese increased 18.2% from 1,029,400 in 2001 to 1,216,600 in 2006. Chinese accounted for 24.0% of the visible minority population and 3.9% of the total Canadian population.

The number of those identifying themselves as Black, the third largest visible minority group, rose 18.4% from 662,200 individuals in 2001 to an estimated 783,800. They accounted for 15.5% of the visible minority population and 2.5% of the total population in 2006.

Other visible minority groups included Filipinos, who represented 8.1% of the visible minority population, Latin Americans (6.0%), Arabs (5.2%), Southeast Asians (4.7%), West Asians (3.1%), Koreans (2.8%) and Japanese (1.6%).

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