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In the workplace and beyond, Canada can begin to address anti-Black racism by confronting the clear data

Diversity and inclusion are terms increasingly on everyone’s lips, used when companies talk about themselves and their work, or to attract more business and new talent. But there is still a vast ocean of difference between using the right words and actually acting on the commitments that they require.

Many Canadians believe that our country is a model of inclusion – at least compared to our neighbours to the south. But the sad truth is that while we’ve turned the page to 2021, we still have a long way to go towards achieving equity for the Black population in Canada. A 2019 survey showed that nearly half of Canadians believe discrimination against Black people is “no longer a problem,” even as 83 per cent of Black people in Canada say they are treated unfairly at least some of the time.

The data exists; it’s been studied and published many times. We know Black Canadians have been living with relentless inequality for decades. But it has taken painful events, such as the killing of George Floyd and the way the COVID-19 pandemic has created even greater economic and social inequality, to move people to act differently.

Diversity is about numbers and representation; inclusion is culture and choice. We have a systemic problem running deep across many facets of life – one that will require not just representation but rather all people, all sectors and sustained actions to change that culture.

CivicAction and consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG) reviewed and compiled existing data on anti-Black racism in Canada. Below is just a snapshot from the full report.

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