TORONTO (Reuters) – More than a quarter of Canadians from diverse ethnic groups reported experiencing discrimination during the coronavirus pandemic, according to an official survey published on Thursday.
Over 35,000 participants from the Chinese, Korean, Southeast Asian and Black and white communities responded to questions from Statistics Canada on perceptions of discrimination, trust, sense of belonging and access to health care services.
The pandemic has intensified pre-existing inequities in Canadian society and highlighted the need for more granular data about the social impacts of COVID-19, the agency said.
While Canada prides itself as being an inclusive and multicultural country, the crowdsourced survey shed light on an alternate reality experienced by many Canadians.
Among Indigenous participants, 44% reported low levels of trust in the justice system. Among Black participants, more than half said they had low levels of confidence in the police — a proportion that rose to two-thirds among those who experienced discrimination over the course of the pandemic.
Non-white participants were more than twice as likely to say they have been discriminated against than white participants. Among the age groups, 15- to 24-year-olds were twice as likely as seniors to report experiencing discrimination as well.
The survey comes as a wave of Black Lives Matter protests have erupted across Canada with protesters pressing the government to address deep systemic inequities faced by Black Canadians.
In June, a video showing a forceful arrest of a Canadian indigenous leader by Royal Canadian Mounted Police over an incident involving an expired license plate was criticized by leaders including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. [nL1N2E11TE]
(Reporting by Mahad Arale; Editing by Daniel Wallis)