StatsCan: While English and French are still the main languages spoken in Canada, the country’s linguistic diversity continues to grow

Of note, if not unexpected given immigration impact:

English is the first official language spoken by just over three in four Canadians. This proportion increased from 74.8% in 2016 to 75.5% in 2021.

French is the first official language spoken by an increasing number of Canadians, but the proportion fell from 22.2% in 2016 to 21.4% in 2021.

From 2016 to 2021, the number of Canadians who spoke predominantly French at home rose in Quebec, British Columbia and Yukon, but decreased in the other provinces and territories.

The proportion of Canadians who spoke predominantly French at home decreased in all the provinces and territories, except Yukon.

For the first time in the census, the number of people in Quebec whose first official language spoken is English topped 1 million and their proportion of the population rose from 12.0% in 2016 to 13.0% in 2021. Moreover, 7 in 10 English speakers lived on Montréal Island or in Montérégie. 

The proportion of bilingual English-French Canadians (18.0%) remained virtually unchanged from 2016. From 2016 to 2021, the increase in the bilingualism rate in Quebec (from 44.5% to 46.4%) offset the decrease observed outside Quebec (from 9.8% to 9.5%). 

In Canada, 4 in 10 people could conduct a conversation in more than one language. This proportion rose from 39.0% in 2016 to 41.2% in 2021. In addition, 1 in 11 could speak three or more languages. 

In 2021, one in four Canadians had at least one mother tongue other than English or French, and one in eight Canadians spoke predominantly a language other than English or French at home—both the highest proportions on record.

The number of Canadians who spoke predominantly a South Asian language such as Gujarati, Punjabi, Hindi or Malayalam at home grew significantly from 2016 to 2021, an increase fuelled by immigration. In fact, the growth rate of the population speaking one of these languages was at least eight times larger than that of the overall Canadian population during this period.

In contrast, there was a decline in the number of Canadians who spoke predominantly certain European languages at home, such as Italian, Polish and Greek.

Aside from English and French, Mandarin and Punjabi were the country’s most widely spoken languages. In 2021, more than half a million Canadians spoke predominantly Mandarin at home and more than half a million spoke Punjabi.

Among Canadians whose mother tongue is neither English nor French, 7 in 10 spoke an official language at home at least on a regular basis. 

In 2021, 189,000 people reported having at least one Indigenous mother tongue and 183,000 reported speaking an Indigenous language at home at least on a regular basis. Cree languages and Inuktitut are the main Indigenous languages spoken in Canada.

Among individuals with an Indigenous mother tongue, four out of five spoke that language at home at least on a regular basis, and half spoke it predominantly.

Source: While English and French are still the main languages spoken in Canada, the country’s linguistic diversity continues to grow

Police-reported hate-motivated crime rises sharply for second year in a row

Latest numbers by StatsCan, showing particularly high increase in 2021 of religiously motivated hate crimes, with biggest relative increase for Catholics, likely due to the discovery of unmarked graves. In terms of ethnicity motivated, the rise of anti East and SE Asian hate crimes during pandemic stands out:

The number of police-reported hate-motivated crimes in Canada increased by 27%, up from 2,646 incidents in 2020 to 3,360 in 2021. This follows a 36% increase in 2020. In total, the number of police-reported hate crimes rose 72% from 2019 to 2021. Higher numbers of hate-motivated crimes targeting religion (+67%; 884 incidents), sexual orientation (+64%; 423 incidents) and race or ethnicity (+6%; 1,723 incidents) accounted for the majority of the increase. All provinces and territories reported increases in the number of hate crimes in 2021, except for Yukon, where it remained the same.

Police data on hate crimes reflect only those incidents that come to the attention of police and that are subsequently classified as hate crimes. As a result, fluctuations in the number of reported incidents may be attributable to a true change in the volume of hate crimes, but they might also reflect changes in reporting by the public because of increased community outreach by police or heightened sensitivity after high-profile events. Reporting may also be influenced by language barriers, issues of trust or confidence in the police, or fear of further victimization or stigma.

Source: Police-reported hate-motivated crime rises sharply for second year in a row


The head of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation is calling for action to combat hate and more federal help for victims, as new statistics show that hate crimes in Canada rose by 27 per cent last year. 

Executive director Mohammed Hashim warned that unless action is taken to combat hate-motivated abuse, including online, it will continue to spread.

He said the “slew of hate” online is so prevalent it risks becoming normalized and those affected are changing their behaviour to deal with it, including by not reading social media comments.

“It is a firehose of hate that is growing, honestly, like a wildfire,” he said. “And unmitigated it will grow even further to a point where we will normalize being in a wildfire.

“That is because we have left this environment unchecked.”

Statistics Canada reported a dramatic increase in hate crimes in 2021. Last year, the number of hate-motivated crimes reported to the police rose to 3,360 incidents from 2,646 in 2020. This followed a 36 per cent rise in 2020. 

In total, the number of hate-motivated crimes recorded by the police has gone up 72 per cent since 2019, according to the agency. 

Four Muslim Canadians from the same family were killed in June last year when a man rammed a truck into them in London, Ont. Police have said the attack was motivated by Islamophobia.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said the figures are “further evidence of the alarming and unacceptable rise of hate that marginalized communities have experienced in recent years.”

Mendicino said the federal government is taking action on a variety of fronts, led by new legislation to tackle the rise of hate speech and hate crimes.

“We will not rest until all Canadians feel safe in their communities,” he added. 

A report by the race relations foundation, published Tuesday, calls for greater federal help for victims of hate, many of whom do not qualify for financial compensation because their abuse does not count as a crime.

Hashim warned that “not supporting victims and leaving hate to proliferate freely disintegrates Canadian multiculturalism as a whole and a sense of collective belonging to this nation.”

Hate-motivated crimes targeting a person’s religious affiliation were up 67 per cent last year, according to Statistics Canada. Crimes based on a victim’s sexual orientation were up 64 per cent year over year. Another 1,723 recorded incidents targeted a person’s race or ethnicity, a six per cent increase, and together these categories made up the majority of the overall rise.

Marvin Rotrand of B’nai Brith Canada said Jews were the No. 1 target of hate crimes aimed at religious minorities. 

“All Canadians should be worried about the alarming explosion of hate crimes witnessed in 2021,” Rotrand said. “Our community comprises 1.25 per cent of the Canadian population but were the victims of 56 per cent of hate crimes aimed at religious minorities. That is more than all other religious groups combined.”

Shimon Koffler Fogel, president and CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said incidents targeting the Jewish community have risen by 47 per cent since 2020.

“Statistically, Canadian Jews were more than 10 times more likely than any other Canadian religious minority to report being the target of a hate crime,” he said.

All provinces and territories reported increases in the number of hate crimes in 2021, except for Yukon, where the numbers remained the same.

Hashim, who regularly tours the country speaking to victims of hate as well as community groups and police forces, said more focus must be put on victims. He said young women are facing huge amounts of abuse online, particularly young Black women. 

“Right now we talk a lot about hate crime statistics, how police are dealing with it or not dealing with it, being reported or not being reported,” he said. “What we are constantly missing is what is the effect on victims.”

The Department of Canadian Heritage is working on drafting an online hate bill to set up a framework to combat abuse online.

A previous anti-hate bill, introduced at the tail end of the last Parliament, died when the election was called. 

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez appointed an expert panel to make suggestions for a future bill, including faster takedown obligations on platforms, in particular over child pornography.

During a consultation by the federal government last year, some minority groups raised concerns about directly involving the police to combat hate speech online.

Hashim warned against “digital carding” and a mass trawl of content online. He acknowledged there is concern about whether police should be able to access all takedown materials for investigative purposes.

“I don’t think that is the proper way of doing online safety. There need to be checks and balances between how much information is accessible to the police. That is why we have warrants,” he said.

“Just creating open access for all police, for all takedown data, for all social media platforms is overkill in my opinion.” 

The report commissioned by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, and written by PricewaterhouseCoopers, said 80 per cent of hate crimes go unreported each year.

The report recommends Canada mirror Germany’s model for supporting victims of hate with millions of dollars of funding for community groups, which people who encounter hate “instinctively” reach out to, as well as a further victims fund. 

It says the government’s current compensation schemes exclude many victims of hate because few hate-motivated acts are designated as criminal.

The report also suggests the government establish an emergency response fund for communities hit by hate attacks on a large scale, as well as a central national support hub for victims.

Source: Race relations foundation urges more help for victims as hate crimes rise further

StatsCan Study: The religiosity of Canadians and the COVID-19 pandemic

Of interest, both the overall trend and the differences between different religious groups. Can’t wait for the October release and opportunities for deeper analysis:

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on many aspects of Canadian life, including religion. In particular, the risks associated with the virus, as well as physical distancing measures, have limited access to places of worship. Many religious organizations have offered the option to attend religious services online. Although the pandemic has made group worship difficult, some surveys conducted by private firms have suggested that it has led to an increase in prayer or a strengthening of faith.

Using data from several cycles of the General Social Survey, a new study released today examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the religiosity of Canadians. Specifically, it analyzes changes in rates of religious affiliation, frequency of participation in religious activities on a group or individual basis, and involvement with religious organizations from 2015 to 2020.

The study found a decrease in group religious participation from 2019 (pre-pandemic) to 2020 (start of the pandemic). In the general population, the percentage of people who participated in a religious group activity in the previous year fell from 47% in 2019 to 40% in 2020.

The study also found that the impact of the pandemic on participation in religious group activities was greater for some religious groups. For example, the proportion of people who had participated in a religious group activity in the previous year fell more sharply than average among Buddhists (from 74% in 2019 to 50% in 2020) and Muslims (from 71% to 57%). This proportion fell from 60% to 53% among Christian-affiliated groups, from 75% to 67% among Jewish people, and from 78% to 70% among Hindus.

Finally, the data revealed that, overall, the pandemic had no measurable effect on the frequency of individual religious or spiritual activities (e.g., prayer, meditation, etc.). Similarly, it did not appear to have affected self-reported religious affiliation.

On October 26, new data from the 2021 Census will provide a more detailed picture of the diversity of religious affiliation groups in Canada and of the people that form them.

Source: Study: The religiosity of Canadians and the COVID-19 pandemic

Longitudinal Immigration Database: Immigrants’ income trajectories during the initial years since admission

Usual useful analysis by StatsCan, in particular the highlighting of how two-step immigration is resulting in stronger economic outcomes for the economic class:

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of Canadian immigrants in many ways. To assess these impacts, it is important to know where Canadian immigrants stood economically right before the outbreak of the pandemic. Based on the latest available data from the 2020 Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB), the present article serves this goal by focusing on immigrant wages in recent years, including 2019. This will provide a baseline for comparison once data for 2020 are available.

Immigrants admitted to Canada in 2018 had a median wage of $31,900 in 2019. This was 4.2% higher than the median entry wage of immigrants admitted in 2017 ($30,600). In fact, immigrants admitted in 2018 had the highest median entry wage, reported one year after admission, among all immigrants admitted since 1981. Despite that, their median wage was still 17.8% lower than the 2019 median wage of the total Canadian population ($38,800).

Compared with those admitted in 2017, immigrants admitted in 2018 experienced median entry wage increases in all provinces, except Alberta, and Newfoundland and Labrador. A closer look by immigration category and pre-admission experience sheds light on differences among various groups of immigrants admitted in 2018, compared with their counterparts admitted in 2017 as well as the Canadian population in corresponding years.

Median wage of economic immigrant principal applicants surpasses that of the Canadian population one year after admission 

Principal applicants of economic categories are selected for their ability to be integrated into the Canadian labour market and to contribute to the economy. Most of them have post-secondary education and knowledge of at least one official language. Immigrants admitted under those categories in 2018 had a median wage of $43,600 in 2019, 12.4% higher than the Canadian median wage in the same year ($38,800) and 3.8% higher than the median entry wage of their counterparts admitted in 2017 ($42,000).

While the median wage of economic principal applicants surpassed that of the Canadian population one year after admission, those of all other immigrants were still less than the Canadian median wage.

The median entry wage of economic immigrant dependents admitted in 2018, spouses included, was $27,600. While lower than the 2019 Canadian median wage, this number was 7.0% higher than that of their counterparts admitted in 2017 ($25,800).

There was no change in the median entry wage between family sponsored immigrants admitted in 2017 and 2018 ($24,500). The median entry wage of refugees ($19,200) was the lowest among immigrants admitted in 2018, though it was 2.7% higher compared with that of their counterparts admitted in 2017 ($18,700).

Economic principal applicants are selected on the basis of their education, specific skills and work experience. The vast majority (96.1%) of immigrant taxfilers admitted under this category in 2018 had completed some post-secondary education at the time of their admission. Economic principal applicants are also more likely to have pre-admission experience in Canada. Among those admitted under this category in 2018, almost two-thirds (64.5%) of them had pre-admission experience in Canada, in contrast with their counterparts admitted as refugees (33.3%), through family sponsorship (32.7%), or as dependents of economic immigrants (32.6%).

Pre-admission experience in Canada, particularly work-related, plays an important role in lifting immigrants’ wages, as it provides a pathway for immigrants to acquire language skills and knowledge of the Canadian labour market. Immigrant taxfilers having both study and work permits prior to immigration obtained the highest median wage one year after admission, both for those admitted in 2017 ($44,900) and in 2018 ($44,600). Immigrants only having work permits prior to immigration obtained the second highest median wage one year after admission ($39,900 for those admitted in 2017 and $39,300 for the 2018 admission cohort). Immigrants admitted with pre-admission work-related experience in 2017 and 2018 already had median wages higher than those of the Canadian population in 2018 ($38,200) and 2019 ($38,800), respectively.

Immigrants without pre-admission experience had lower median entry wages than immigrants with Canadian work experience prior to their admission. Their median entry wage was $23,100 for those admitted in 2017 and $25,700 for those admitted in 2018.

Among immigrants with pre-admission experience in Canada, those with study permits only prior to admission had the lowest median entry wages in 2018 ($14,400) and 2019 ($15,100). However, this group of immigrants is on average younger than their counterparts in all other groups, and therefore has a strong potential to increase their earnings as their careers unfold in the Canadian labour market. Furthermore, they are also more likely to have part-time jobs; information about whether or not their employment was full-time, full-year is unavailable.

Chart 1  
Median entry wage of immigrants admitted in 2017 and 2018, by pre-admission experience

Chart 1: Median entry wage of immigrants admitted in 2017 and 2018, by pre-admission experience

Median wages increase over time with different outcomes for men and women according to their immigration category

When tracking changes over time, a focus on immigrant men and women admitted at age 18 or older in 2009 shows that median wages increased across all immigration categories and for both men and women from 2010 to 2019. However, such increases benefited immigrant men and women differently.

Both economic principal applicant men and women admitted in 2009 had median wages far above those of their counterparts in all other categories throughout the 10-year period. The median wage of men nearly doubled, from $32,500 in 2010 to $62,300 in 2019, with an average annual increase rate of 10.2%. The median wage of their woman counterparts nearly doubled as well, from $24,500 to $44,900 over the same period, with an average 9.3% annual increase. Among economic principal applicants, women’s median wage started lower than men’s and men’s median wage increased faster than women’s. As a result, the median wage gap widened between men and women over time in favour of men.

The opposite pattern is observed among all other immigration categories. Although women’s median wage was even lower than men’s within each of those categories, it increased faster than men’s. During the 10-year observational period, men’s median wage increased among economic dependents, refugees, and family sponsored immigrants with average annual increase rates of 11.9%, 10.2% and 10.0%, respectively. The average annual rates of increase for women were 15.4%, 14.4% and 13.1%, respectively, for economic dependents, refugees and family sponsored immigrants. With women’s higher increase rates of their median wages, the median wage gap narrowed between men and women within each of those immigration categories over time in favour of women.

Chart 2  
Median wage of immigrant men admitted in 2009 by immigration category, 2010 to 2019 

Chart 2: Median wage of immigrant men admitted in 2009 by immigration category, 2010 to 2019

Chart 3  
Median wage of immigrant women admitted in 2009 by immigration category, 2010 to 2019

Chart 3: Median wage of immigrant women admitted in 2009 by immigration category, 2010 to 2019

Pay ratio of immigrant women versus men increases over time for all immigration categories except economic principal applicants

Pay disparity between women and men is an important social, economic, and political issue. As immigration aims to respond to Canada’s need for labour supply, the gender parity and successful settlement of women in the labour market is key to achieving Canada’s objectives. To measure the median gender pay ratio, the median annual wages, salaries and commissions of women were divided by the median annual wages, salaries and commissions of men.

From 2010 to 2019, the gender pay ratio for Canadians increased from 67.9% to 72.6%. Among immigrants admitted as adults in 2009, the gender pay ratio followed a similar pattern: 65.5% in 2010 compared with 69.6% in 2019. The gender pay ratio, however, differed by immigration category during this period.

The increasing gender pay ratio was seen in all immigration categories, except economic principal applicants. From 2010 to 2019, the gender pay ratio increased from 57.2% to 65.5% among family sponsored immigrants, from 65.4% to 75.1% among dependents of economic immigrants, and from 63.5% to 75.9% among refugees.

For economic principal applicants, however, the gender pay ratio slightly decreased from 75.4% in 2010 to 72.1% in 2019. Further analysis would be required to understand the reasons behind this trend.

Chart 4  
Median pay ratio of immigrant women versus men admitted in 2009 by immigration category, 2010 to 2019

Chart 4: Median pay ratio of immigrant women versus men admitted in 2009 by immigration category, 2010 to 2019

Within immigration categories, the wage gap between women and men decreased overtime, except for economic principal applicants. Although the median wage of economic principal applicant women increased greatly over time, their man counterparts had a larger increase, resulting in a widening of the median wage gap between immigrant women and men.

This article is the first part of a two-part series about recent immigrants’ outcomes using data from the Longitudinal Immigration Database. The second part will discuss immigrants’ mobility.


Study: Religiosity in Canada and its evolution from 1985 to 2019

Interesting findings from the GSS. Census 2021 will include religious affiliation data which will allow for detailed socio-economic analysis:

A new study finds that Canada’s religious landscape has undergone significant changes in recent decades, including a decline in religious affiliation and a decrease in participation in individual and group religious activities.

The study “Religiosity in Canada and its evolution from 1985 to 2019” uses data from the General Social Survey to profile different patterns of religiosity in Canada and examine how they have changed since 1985.

A clearer understanding of how Canadians’ relationships with religion have evolved provides better insight into the country’s cultural and social history of the country and the diversity of today’s population. New data from the 2021 Census will soon update the portrait of religious diversity in Canada by providing detailed information on religious affiliations and the people with these affiliations.

Around two-thirds of Canadians report having a religious affiliation

In 2019, just over two-thirds (68%) of the Canadian population reported having a religious affiliation, and over half (54%) said their religious or spiritual beliefs were somewhat or very important to the way they live their lives. 

More than one-third of Canadians (37%) reported engaging in religious or spiritual activities on their own at least once a month, and almost one-quarter (23%) reported participating in a group religious activity at least once a month in the previous year. 

Women were more likely than men to report having a religious affiliation (72% compared with 64%) or to consider their religious or spiritual beliefs somewhat or very important to how they live their lives (61% vs. 47%). They were also more likely than men to participate in religious or spiritual activities on their own at least once a week (36% vs. 24%) and in group religious activities at least once a month (26% compared with 21%). The same types of results are found by gender and age. Women are more likely than men to report having a religious affiliation, to participate in group or individual religious or spiritual activities, and to place a high value on their religious or spiritual beliefs, regardless of age.

Dynamics vary across regions

The diversity of regional dynamics has long been a fundamental characteristic of Canada’s religious landscape. For example, high proportions of non-affiliation have distinguished British Columbia for several decades and still characterize the province, with 40% of the population reporting no religious affiliation from 2017 to 2019.

In Quebec, religious affiliation is relatively high. However, more often than elsewhere, it goes hand in hand with low importance given to religious or spiritual beliefs. From 2017 to 2019, 40% of Quebec residents reported both a religious affiliation and low importance of religious or spiritual beliefs, compared with 15% to 25% in other provinces.

Trends in religion in the Atlantic provinces have generally been more stable than in other regions, particularly with respect to religious affiliation. However, the most recent data show particularly sharp contrasts between generations, suggesting that significant changes in the religious landscape have begun in these provinces. For example, from 2017 to 2019, those born between 1940 and 1959 were twice as likely to report both having a religious affiliation and considering their religious or spiritual beliefs somewhat or very important (74%) than those born between 1980 and 1999 (37%).

Participation in religious activities varies widely across religious affiliations 

Among those who reported having a religious affiliation between 2017 and 2019, nearly one-third (32%) had participated in group religious activities at least once a month. However, the frequency of participation in religious activities varied widely across religious affiliations.

For example, a majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses (86%), Latter Day Saints (80%) and Anabaptists (75%) participated in group religious activities monthly. In contrast, Buddhists (15%), Anglicans (19%) and those affiliated with the United Church (19%) had proportions of monthly group participation well below average.

There is also some variation in the importance given to religious beliefs by religious affiliation. Nevertheless, a majority of people of each affiliation reported that their religious or spiritual beliefs were somewhat or very important, ranging from 62% for Catholics to 98% for Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Declines in religious affiliation and participation in religious activities

Both religious affiliation and frequency of participation in group religious activities have trended downward in recent decades. For example, the share of people who reported having a religious affiliation fell from 90% in 1985 to 68% in 2019. Meanwhile, the share of those who attended a group religious activity at least once a month fell by almost half, from 43% to 23% over the same period.

Similar trends were also observed with respect to the practice of individual religious or spiritual activities and the importance given to religious and spiritual beliefs. For example, in 2003, 71% of people reported that their religious or spiritual beliefs were somewhat or very important, compared with 54% in 2019. Finally, the proportion of people who engaged in religious or spiritual activities on their own at least once a week fell from 46% in 2006 to 30% in 2019.

Chart 1  
Evolution of the different religiosity indicators, 1985 to 2019

Chart 1: Evolution of the different religiosity indicators, 1985 to 2019

Religious affiliation and participation are less common among younger generations

In general, recent generations were less likely than the generations that came before them to report a religious affiliation, to participate in group or individual religious activities, or to place a high value on religious and spiritual beliefs in how they live their lives.

For example, at the same age, when they were 20 to 30 years old, those born between 1960 and 1969 were significantly more likely to report a religious affiliation (82%) than those born between 1990 and 1999 (54%). They were also more likely to participate in group religious activities (24%) than their counterparts born between 1990 and 1999 (14%). Similar trends were also observed for participation in individual religious or spiritual activities and the importance of religious beliefs.

The succession of generations displaying these forms of religiosity less and less often accounts for much of the decline in religious affiliation, practices and importance among the Canadian population over the past few decades.

In terms of religiosity, people born outside Canada differ more from those born in Canada among the younger generations

In general, people born outside Canada are more likely than those born in Canada to report a religious affiliation, to consider their religious and spiritual beliefs important to how they live their lives, and to participate in group or individual religious activities. However, this difference is more pronounced among members of younger generations.

For example, among those born between 1980 and 1999, those born outside Canada were much more likely than those born in Canada to report a religious affiliation (71% vs. 59%) or to consider their religious beliefs to be somewhat or very important (62% compared with 39%). In comparison, those born outside Canada between 1940 and 1959 were about as likely as their Canadian-born counterparts to report a religious affiliation (85% vs. 87%) and only slightly more likely to consider their religious beliefs to be somewhat or very important (74% compared with 66%).

Given that immigration is an important factor in Canada’s population growth, these trends could have an impact on the evolution of the various religiosity indicators examined in this study.

In addition, information from the 2021 Census will soon provide an updated picture of religious diversity in Canada. This information will provide a more detailed picture of religious affiliations and the people with these affiliations.


Numbers reveal a ‘diversity deficit’ in boardrooms of the charitable and non-profit sectors

Good and useful survey by Statistics Canada and ongoing work by Senator Omidvar in this area:

There’s a “diversity deficit” in the boardrooms of Canada’s charitable and not-for-profit sector, even though government funding and public donations are their main source of revenues.

A Statistics Canada survey has found 59 per cent of responding board members in the sector were women, but designated groups appeared to be under-represented in the governance of these organizations.

Of the 6,182 people who sat on these boards and responded to the survey, only 14 per cent identified themselves as immigrants; 12 per cent as belonging to a visible minority group; nine per cent as LGBTQ2+; six per cent as persons with a disability; and three per cent as First Nations, Métis or Inuit.

Only 42 per cent of the respondents reported that their organization has a written policy on board diversity, said the report released Thursday.

According to the federal agency, 22 per cent of the Canadian population are immigrants; 19 per cent belong to a visible minority group; 22 per cent of those aged 15 and above have one or more disabilities; and five per cent are First Nations, Métis or Inuit. A 2015 Canadian health report found three per cent of Canadians aged between 18 and 59 self-identified as gay or bisexual, and other estimates have been significantly higher.

Although this survey data was collected through crowdsourcing from professional networks within the sector — and not through probability-based sampling — it provides a glimpse into how well the leadership reflects and includes the voices of diverse communities.

“The numbers tell us that there is a diversity deficit in the governance of the sector. Many charities have challenges in this context,” says Sen. Ratna Omidvar of Ontario, who challenged the sector last summer to start collecting demographic data in the wake of the racial reckoning spearheaded by the Black Lives Matter Movement.

“It’s important for all of the society, particularly for charities and not-for-profit organizations because governors set their missions. They decide how dollars are spent. They make decisions on how an organization will respond to this or that. They are in control of the resources that come both from the government and donors.”

Researchers surveyed almost 9,000 people in total and 6,182 of them reported sitting on a board in the non-profit sector.

Three quarters of these board members belonged to an organization that operates locally; 13 per cent at a provincial level; eight per cent nationally; and three per cent internationally.

Their organizations engaged in a range of activities: social services (23 per cent); arts and culture (16 per cent); education and research (13 per cent); sports and recreation (12 per cent); and health (10 per cent). More than half of the respondents said their organizations served at least one of the designated minority groups.

While the local organizations were more likely to be involved in social services, their provincial and national counterparts tended to engage in education and research or in grants and fundraising, or were business or professional associations or unions. The international organizations reported global activities or arts and culture as their main focus.

Organizations engaged in sports and recreation or in religious non-profits and charities were least likely to have a written policy on board diversity. Respondents belonging to the designated groups were often involved in organizations with an official diversity mandate.

Omidvar said it’s important for the sector to look at governance through a diversity lens and follow a federal reporting system that’s already required of corporations to disclose demographic diversity in their governance.

“We ask nothing of the charitable and non-profit sector. We all think of them as angels and they are, but even angels need evidence to take further actions,” she said. “We need reliable, ongoing surveys and data that’s analyzed to move forward.”

One suggestion, she said, is for the Canada Revenue Agency to require every charitable and not-for-profit organization to submit information pertaining to their governance diversity in order to renew their registration status annually.

“Adding that one question is not going to cost anyone any money, but it will get us the evidence that we need and then we will be able to take it further,” said Omidvar.

“It requires political will. There are candidates who are qualified, willing, ready and able to sit on boards. They did not get that opportunity. It’s time that Canadians woke up to that diversity deficit in our charities and non-profit sector.”

Source: Numbers reveal a ‘diversity deficit’ in boardrooms of the charitable and non-profit sectors

COVID-19 mortality rate higher in neighbourhoods with more visible minorities: StatsCan

Yet more evidence of correlation between visible minorities, lower income and poorer housing:

Residents of communities home to more visible minorities had a higher likelihood of dying from COVID-19 in Canada’s three largest provinces, according to Statistics Canada, in a trend health experts say underscores the need for provinces such as B.C. and Quebec to improve their data collection on race and mortality.

report issued by StatsCan late last month looking into COVID-19 mortality rates in “ethno-cultural neighbourhoods” found communities in B.C. that were home to more than 25 per cent visible minorities had an age-adjusted COVID-19 mortality rate that was 10 times higher than neighbourhoods that were less than one per cent visible minority.

In Ontario and Quebec, neighbourhoods with large visible minority populations had age-adjusted mortality rates three times higher than the general public.

That COVID-19 deaths in B.C.’s ethno-cultural neighbourhoods are ten times higher than comparable rates for Canada’s broader population could be partially linked to a lower general death rate in the province.

As of Monday, 299 people with the virus had died in B.C., out of more than 11,000 deaths across Canada.

The Statistics Canada analysis was compiled when B.C. had fewer than 200 coronavirus deaths. But the analysis is part of a growing body of literature showing that visible minority communities in Canada have been hit harder by the virus than the general population.

Dr. Andrew Boozary, the executive director of Social Medicine and Population Health at the University Health Network in Toronto, said it’s important to have specific, reliable data so affected populations can be protected.

“We’ve not been a leader on that front and it has been awfully expensive in not allowing our response to be as precise as we hoped, but also not allowing us to galvanize the response as quickly as we should have.”

‘Extremely important to be collecting that data’

Unlike Ontario, Quebec and B.C. are still not collecting the data that would identify which communities are most at risk, or why they are at risk, despite repeated calls to do so.

Source: COVID-19 mortality rate higher in neighbourhoods with more visible minorities: StatsCan

Inside Statistics Canada’s efforts to improve diversity data

Good account. Some of the data on breakdowns between different Black groups can be found and analysed through of mix of ethnic ancestry, place of birth and generation status (approach used I believe in the StatsCan overview of the Canadian Black community.

The issue is less with respect to basic demographic and socioeconomic data and more with respect to specialized data sets that can identify, highlight and quantify inequities in areas such as health, education, policing etc:

When the Liberals announced the Centre for Gender, Diversity, and Inclusion Statistics in 2018, the government said it would have a “particular” focus on Black Canadians, recognizing a gap in data collection that academics and organizers say is so large it renders promises to address anti-racism “meaningless.”

For the centre to effectively offer information on Canada’s diverse Black population, understand how it’s doing and create policy to address inequality, both it and Statistics Canada need much more funding than the Liberals have allocated, according to one of its academic advisors on Statistics Canada’s Expert Working Group on Black Communities in Canada, and on immigration and ethnocultural statistics.

For months now, as COVID-19 swept across Canada, advocates and researchers have been calling for race-based data on the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities. In the wake of Black Lives Matter protests across the world and Canada, advocates have redoubled that call.

With its “very poor” disaggregated data Canada can’t properly address systemic experiences around racism, including disparities of income and health, said Malinda Smith, a University of Alberta professor.

“You can’t address them without good data. It doesn’t get measured, it doesn’t get done,” she said. “My view is any politician, policy maker, university president making a statement about a commitment to address anti-racism and yet are not collecting data, are not consulting the Black population, I think those commitments, those statements become meaningless.”

Over the last week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) spoke of systemic racism in Canada, promising to change “the systems that do not do right by too many Indigenous people and racialized Canadians.”

In the 2018 budget, the Liberals announced $6.7-million over five years to launch the centre. That funding is applied to both the centre and across various units at the agency to fulfill the mandate, said Statistics Canada spokesperson Peter Frayne by email. It has 10 people whose salaries are at least 50-per-cent funded by the centre, but who also have other duties, he said. In 2019, the Liberals’ anti-racism strategy set aside another $4.2-million, he added, so it could expand data collection in four areas: the general social survey, potential changes to the uniform crime reporting survey, supporting a new advisory committee on ethnocultural and immigration statistics, and added analysis of existing data to include racialized communities.

That funding is “peanuts,” said Prof. Smith who said these gestures give the ”appearance of addressing the problem.”

For the Nova Scotia-based Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute, it can be difficult to get important details about Black Nova Scotians, said its executive director Sylvia Parris-Drummond.

It’s evident Black Canadians face systemic racism across the board, she said, given they are disproportionately low income, have poorer health outcomes, and lower wages. Black people represent 8.6 per cent of the federal prison population, despite accounting for 3.5 per cent of Canada’s population.

“We know all those things exist, we would know them more deeply if we could get the disaggregation of data more strongly done,” she said, and the gap necessarily means policy making is coming from “a less informed place.”

Centre’s work on Black Canadians ‘key,’ says centre specialist

Since 2018, the centre and Statistics Canada have undertaken “major work” on the Black community, said Jean-Pierre Corbeil, the centre’s assistant director and chief specialist.

“Clearly the work on Black Canadians is key,” he said in an interview with The Hill Times about the centre’s work over the past two years, including four projects focused on the population.

After the 2018 budget announcement, Statistics Canada struck an ethnocultural advisory committee, which met that summer and into the fall. During Black History month in February 2019, it published an infographic demonstrating the growing diversity in Canada’s Black population and a 20-page overview of how it had changed over the decades. It showed that Canada’s Black population doubled in size between 1996 and 2016.

It was important to showcase the diversity of Black population, Mr. Corbeil said, and it was the first of its kind at that level of detail and “very well received.” In the early 2000s, the agency offered a few portraits of ethnocultural groups, but not to that level.

Using census data, he said it presented statistics in an accessible way, including portraits of differences between provinces, like Nova Scotia, where the Black community is for the most part third generation, compared to recent immigrants in Toronto and Montreal.

It also showed that cities like Edmonton and Calgary have more than 50,000 Black residents, noted Ms. Smith, which is consistent with the fact that the Prairies have a fast-growing Black population in Canada. Lethbridge, Alta., and Moncton, N. B., were two of the fastest growing populations.

“Diversity has escaped much attention and analysis,Prof. Smith said, adding it may be surprising for people to know that before 1981, more than 80 per cent of the Black population immigrated from the Caribbean, but since 2001, it’s shifted to more than 62 per cent from Africa.

“There’s a tendency to treat it as a homogenous group,” she said, and Canada’s lack of data has helped make that so.

In February 2020, the centre released another report called “Canada’s Black population education, labour, and resilience.” In this study, the centre integrated the 2006 census with the 2016 census for the same person, making it possible to look at education attainment and the educational characteristics of Black youth in Canada and look at labour market integration 10 years later.

It showed that Canada’s Black population is younger than average, and though more Black youth aged 15-25 (94 per cent) reported wanting to get a university degree, only 60 per cent thought it would happen, compared to 79 per cent of the rest of that age range in Canada.

Labour force ‘pilot’ survey to include visible minorities

In July, the labour force survey will include a question about visible minority status for the first time. These mandatory monthly surveys have a 56,000-household sample, so there will still be limitations in the technical analysis, but Mr. Corbeil said it’ll be a first for tracking employment.

Mr. Frayne said the pilot to expand the survey makes up part of Statistics Canada’s response to the data needs stemming from the pandemic. The agency has “enhanced crowdsourcing survey instruments to enable reporting for key vulnerable populations,” including immigrants, Indigenous people, and visible minority groups.

“Statistics Canada recognizes that the social, economic and labour market impacts of COVID-19 have not been equally felt by all Canadians,” he said, adding the agency is also developing techniques to add information by race and visible minority status to previously released data.

Also, in the coming months, the centre plans to release a comprehensive report on changes to the socioeconomic situation of Canada’s Black population, from 2001 to 2016, Mr. Corbeil said, noting there’s a “very, very big appetite” for this analysis.

And, through Canada’s anti-racism strategy, announced in 2019, the centre received an additional $3-million to expand the sample size for the next social identity cycle of the General Social Survey—a smaller, annual themed survey. The survey typically has about 25,000 respondents, while the 2020 survey will be expanded to 80,000 respondents and will allow StatsCan to track perception of discrimination and belonging.

Mr. Frayne added by email that an advisory committee on immigration and ethnocultural statistics has been formed and met once, with another meeting this week.  There is also work underway to improve information on hate crimes by linking police data to courts data, he said.

Canada is long overdue in developing better data on its Black and broader visible minority populations, said Prof. Smith, far behind the United States and United Kingdom. In Britain, researchers can break down racialized students attending post-secondary institutions, but Canada is unable to do that.

“Frankly, we need a Royal Commission on visible minorities in order to examine more systematically and thoroughly the different experiences of the nine groups within that category,” she said, saying it remains shocking to her that the Black population is considered one category despite remarkably different immigration routes and experiences. There are more than 170 different places of birth for the Black immigrants in Canada.

Over the next three years, the centre is also planning to release new indicators, consulting with the agency’s expert advisory committee on ethnocultural and immigration statistics to develop a conceptual framework on ethnocultural diversity and inclusion to better track relevant “inclusion” indicators over time.

“This is a great opportunity to identify data gaps,” Mr. Corbeil said, and when some surveys do not have a large enough sample, it’s an opportunity “to send the message” if more information is needed. Asked if the centre had enough resources, including staffing and funding, he said following the 2018 budget it was “clearly” a key initiative from the government to assign resources to address gaps.

“This is where the emphasis right now is put, trying to get the funding to have the oversampling and all the efforts to integrate the information with different data sources,” he said.

Source: Inside Statistics Canada’s efforts to improve diversity data

Impact of economic consequences of COVID-19 on Canadians’ social concerns – Immigrant status

From the StatsCan online panel on immigration status:

In addition to education, other factors are associated with the social concerns of Canadians. In particular, immigrants are more likely than the Canadian-born to worry about the social impacts of the pandemic (LaRochelle-Côté and Uppal 2020). This analysis supports these earlier findings because—even after all other factors were taken into account—immigrants still worried more than the Canadian-born. Furthermore, immigrants were more than twice as likely as people born in Canada to be worried about the potential of violence in the home.


Discrepancy between Elections Canada, StatsCan reports likely due to social desirability bias

Of note. The limits of self-reporting and social bias:

Despite an 11-percentage-point discrepancy between self-reported and actual voter turnout, a recent Statistics Canada survey still provides valuable information on the electorate and voting trends, experts say.

The StatsCan survey, which relies on self-reporting, collected data by adding five election-related questions to the 2019 Labour Force Survey, which is distributed to approximately 56,000 households. The survey does not include Indigenous people living on reserve, full-time members of the Canadian armed forces, prisoners, and households in remote areas with very low population density.

Because the survey misses certain groups, it actually looks more like the electorate than the entire population, Richard Johnston, professor at the University of British Columbia and Canada Research Chair in public opinion, elections, and representation.

“The people who are missed by the survey tend to be the sort of people who are generally socially disconnected and are least likely to be subject to kinds of social pressure that get people to the polls,” Prof. Johnston said.

There was a similar gap between the reported turnout numbers after the 2015 election. Actual turnout in 2015, as reported by Elections Canada, was 68 per cent. The StatsCan post-2015 election report had self-reported turnout at 77 per cent, a difference of nine percentage points.

The data in the Elections Canada post-election survey is more accurate, said Lydia Miljan, University of Windsor political science professor, as the StatsCan survey relies on self-reporting. Prof. Miljan said the social desirability bias explains much of the discrepancy between the StatsCan survey and Elections Canada report.

“It’s not socially desirable to say, ‘I don’t vote’, so that’s why you always end up having a higher rate of self-reporting as opposed to what’s actually happening,” Prof. Miljan said.

Despite the discrepancy, Prof. Miljan said StatsCan’s report is valuable for the details it offers on demographic splits, which can “give a good trend analysis from one election to another.”

“If you’re trying to get inside the guts of social, psychological, or political differences in turnouts, these surveys are pretty good. It’s just that the baseline is too high,” Prof. Johnston said.

No interest in politics still top reason

A disinterest in politics was the top reason voters, in every age group except non-voters 75 years and older, cited for skipping out on the 2019 federal election, at 35 per cent, StatsCan’s report suggested. The same reason topped the list in the 2015 and 2011 federal elections. No data exists for prior elections, according to the agency, as the survey was inaugurated after the 2011 election. In 2019, the surveyed showed 23 per cent of Canadians did not vote.

Non-voters between 55 and 64 were the most likely to cite no interest in politics as the reason for not voting, at 38 per cent. Non-voters between 18 and 24, and 25 and 34, commonly thought of as the least-engaged age groups, were actually less likely than older voters to cite no interest.

Interest in politics appears to sharply increase between those who are 65 to 74 years old and those 75 years old and older. For voters between 65 and 74, 34 per cent said they lack sufficient interest, but that number drops to 21 per cent for voters 75 and up.

Women also appear to be generally more interested in politics than men, with 32 per cent of women and 37 per cent of men reporting a lack of interest as the prime reason for staying home.

Among the provinces, voters in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Quebec were the most likely to say they lack an interest in politics. Quebecers appear to be the most disengaged, with 41 per cent lacking an interest, compared to 40 per cent in Nova Scotia and 39 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Other voters reported they were too busy to vote, making it the second most-common reason at 22 per cent, which is also consistent across the three elections surveyed.

Younger voters were much more likely to cite being too busy than older voters. Voters between 25 and 34 years old were the most likely to be too busy, with 30 per cent reporting it as their reason. As voters get older, it drops precipitously. Just 16 per cent of voters between 55 and 64, seven per cent between 65 and 74, and four per cent older than 75 report being too busy to vote. Discrepancies in gender are virtually nonexistent, with 22 per cent of men and 21 per cent of women reporting being too busy.

The third most-common reason was suffering from an illness or disability. In 2019, 13 per cent of non-voters said an illness or disability prevented them from voting, up from 12 per cent in 2015 and nine per cent in 2011.

In a supplementary post-2015 report from Elections Canada that broke down turnout by demographics, youth voter turnout was actually 57 per cent. A similar supplementary report for the 2019 election has not yet been released.

Self-reported turnout amongst voters aged 55 and up has held steady around 80 per cent over the past three elections, but self-reported turnout amongst those 44 and younger jumped at least 10 points between 2011 and 2015, and remained high for the 2019 election.

“In 2015, there was a sort of social movement quality to the Trudeau victory, and the evidence suggests that the turnout surge in 2015 was a surge of younger people looking for a new kind of politics. And a lot of those younger people stuck around in 2019,” Prof. Johnston said.

Newfoundland and Labrador had the lowest self-reported turnout in the 2011, 2015, and 2019 general elections. In 2019, provincial turnout was 68 per cent, seven points lower than Manitoba at 75 per cent, the province with the second lowest turnout rate in 2019. Manitoba faced severe storms during advance polling time, causing evacuations, power outages, road closures, flooding, and some polling stations to close. Elections Canada set up an additional polling station at the University of Winnipeg for voters from four electoral districts, and teamed up with the Canadian Red Cross to transport voters. Elections Canada reported that 270 people used this option. Emergency workers helping with disaster response were also provided with additional polling stations, and 592 voted at the additional stations.

Prince Edward Island had the highest turnout in the 2011, 2015, and 2019 elections, topping 80 per cent each time. In 2019, turnout was 82 per cent, down from 86 per cent in 2015. Prof. Miljan and Prof. Johnston said P.E.I is usually the most turnout-heavy province in both federal and provincial elections.

Despite P.E.I.’s high turnout, the rate actually decreased the most between the 2015 and 2019 elections, from 86 to 22 per cent. Quebec, from 78 to 76 per cent, and British Columbia, from 79 to 76 per cent, also had turnout drops. Turnout largely remained the same in the remaining provinces.

Prof. Johnston provided an anecdotal explanation for the Atlantic provinces turnout numbers. He said the social pressure to vote in P.E.I is potentially higher given the population density, 25.1 people per square kilometre, which is the highest in the country. Newfoundland and Labrador is the province with the lowest population density, at 1.4 people per square kilometre.

“There’s a sense in which someone from P.E.I is going to feel social pressure to turn out because they see each other more regularly and they know each other. There are social networks that reinforce participation,” Prof. Johnston said.

Turnout increased the most between 2015 and 2019 in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Alberta turnout rose from 77 to 80 per cent, and Saskatchewan from 77 to 81 per cent. 

Prof. Miljan suggested one reason for increased turnout in Western Canada was due to frustration with the Trudeau government.

“When people don’t vote, it means they’re pretty happy with the regime and they don’t feel it [their vote] matters one way or another,” she said. This theory suggests that Western voters are “not happy with the regime and they really wanted to make sure their voices were heard.”

Source: Discrepancy between Elections Canada, StatsCan reports likely due to social desirability bias