Statistics Canada explores changes in the census to more accurately reflect Canada’s diversity
Statistics Canada said it will consider changing its data collection practices to better account for Canadians who are identified as members of multiple visible minorities-for many years, these people have been grouped into a single category regardless of their background.
In 2016, 232,375 Canadians selected two or more visible minorities when filling out the census form.
However, a detailed breakdown of this population has never been provided-which has led some people to believe that the government is drafting laws and policies based on incomplete data.
Goldlov Ngwavsi, a representative of the Ottawa African-Canadian Association and a long-time federal civil servant, said: “It’s a bit shocking to find that we don’t have these numbers, and no one thought about collecting them.”
For example, blacks belonging to another visible minority group are currently not counted in the number of black Canadians in Statistics Canada.
Ngwafusi said this may lead to an underestimation of the number of blacks living in the country-which may cause some organizations to falsely assume that their employees have a certain number of black employees.
“Dilute the number means it weakens the status of black people who are trying to integrate into the system and move up in the system,” Ngwafusi said.
Employment fairness laws depend on accurate statistics
Various legislation and fairness initiatives depend on detailed figures on the ethnic composition of the Canadian workforce.
Employers of federal regulators must develop employment equality plans and actively work to increase the number of employees in traditionally underrepresented groups.
Hugh Scher, an employment lawyer in Toronto, said the vague category of “multiple visible minorities” makes it difficult for the government to be held accountable for its progress in reducing inequality in the workplace.
Schell represents black civil servants Potential class action Oppose the federal government’s alleged discrimination.
“This basically prevents the government from making any credible responses to the actual numbers, because based on this serious error in the census, they don’t know and cannot know,” Scher told CBC News.
People who are identified as mixed “may actually lose the ability to consider any measures or assessments that are underrepresented in that particular group.”
This week, the Liberal government announced a project to review the federal employment equality law. These laws also classify workers of color as a group, with the exception of indigenous peoples.
Statistics Canada says there will be a more detailed classification
Statistics Canada stated that it may provide a more detailed breakdown of the Canadian mixed population based on data collected during the 2021 census, but the report may not be released until October 2022.
The Toronto Star first reported on Statistics Canada’s plan to improve statistics on the number of visible minorities.
Statistics Canada said it recognizes the need for a clearer understanding of Canada’s mixed-race population.
“We hope to disseminate and collect more information so that we can tell this story in a more detailed and diverse way,” said Tina Chiu, Director of Diversity and Sociocultural Statistics, Statistics Canada.
Qiu said that the way Statistics Canada collect and report mixed-race data will gradually change in the future, because one of the main purposes of the census is to monitor long-term trends.
“That’s why we want to make these changes, such as revisions, but also remember that the purpose of the census is also to monitor trends and see how Canadian society develops over time,” Qiu added.
The census includes the following visible minority categories: Arabs, blacks, Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, Koreans, Latinos, Southeast Asians, South Asians, and West Asians.
Another all-encompassing category—”not included elsewhere”—is available to census respondents, who write down answers about their visible minority identities. In the 2016 census, 132,090 people fell into this category.