Canada’s Black population faces varying job prospects despite equal education
Black people in Canada are just as educated as the rest of the country overall but new census data by Statistics Canada is shedding light on how cultural barriers may be driving differences in education levels between different generations in Black communities.
A closer look at the data on racialized groups released Jan. 18 shows there are significant differences in the education levels among working-aged Black people who have recently entered the country, and those who are third-generation Canadians or more.
The data showed Canada’s Black population was just as likely to have achieved a bachelor’s degree or higher from a university – whether in Canada or abroad. While the national average sits at 32.9 per cent, for Canada’s Black community, it is at 32.4 per cent.
The differences in achievements between generations, though, show there is more work to do in addressing the challenges and barriers making access to education unequal in Canada, experts say.
For Black African-born people in Canada, 42.2 per cent have secured a bachelor’s degree or higher while 46.3 per cent of children who had at least one parent born in Africa achieved the same level of education.
Nineteen per cent of Caribbean-born Black people in Canada have a bachelor’s degree or higher while 28.5 per cent of children with at least one Caribbean-born parent reached this threshold.
For Black people with Canadian-born parents, only 15.8 per cent achieved a bachelor’s degree or more, and more than half of that group does not have any postsecondary credentials, the study showed.
Statistics Canada says Black people with Canadian-born parents make up around five per cent of Canada’s working-age Black population.
Analysts anticipate the education levels in this group will increase as the children of African and Caribbean immigrants have their own kids.
The Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora at York University’s Faculty of Education noted the cultural barriers preventing some Black students from attending university.
While financial issues are present, he also said familial support for education, as well as teacher encouragement, makes a difference for students during their K-to-12 education.
“If you have these ideas about the students you’re teaching, that will influence how you think and how you work with the students,” Carl James said, pointing at teacher bias and how that could impact their commitment to students who they think don’t have a shot of attending university.
Chris Thompson, executive director of the Federation of Black Canadians, says the organization conducted research that showed children were 13 per cent more likely to graduate from high school if they had a teacher of the same race. Increasing the number of Black teachers in Canadian schools could go a long way in supporting Black students, he said, adding that increasing the number of Black principals and educational administrators would play a big factor too.
He said mentorship is what ultimately made the difference in allowing him to attend the University of Toronto and the federation is looking to offer that support to Black youth.
Thompson noted for Black students who are third-generation or later, having academic mentors from their social network is unlikely, meaning they could fall into what they’ve seen around them which includes not attending university and working in blue-collar professions.
“The reality of it is when you’re going out into the community, you’re not seeing that you’re not exposed to those people. So, it might stunt the message from the reality of where they drift,” Thompson added.
Black workers most likely to be overqualified
Job prospects also look different for Black workers, with many more Black workers in Canada overqualified for their jobs, the data suggests.
The national overqualification rate is 11.1 per cent, but for Black people, it was found to be 16 per cent.
Statistics Canada defines overqualification as people with a bachelor’s degree or higher from a Canadian institution but who are working in jobs that require a high school diploma or less.
It also found that the number of overqualified Black people was similar across generations.
For immigrants, the rate was 15.8 per cent.
For children of immigrants, the rate was 16.6 per cent.
For Black people with Canadian-born parents, the rate was 15.7 per cent.
“Even when you put in all of the different controls and factors that tend to contribute to differences in jobs and in wages, it does not fully explain these kinds of disparities,” Statistics Canada analyst Katherine Wall told Global News.
The CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals offers training and courses to Black youth looking for career development and financial security. Its executive director noted the report shows discriminatory barriers are visible and despite being qualified, a larger number of Black graduates are failing to secure jobs in their respective fields.
“There’s also this facade and this carrot dangled that says, ‘We’re inclusive. We want to do better, and everyone is able to kind of meet their dreams here,’” said Agapi Gessesse. “That’s just systemically not true.”
Gessesse noted the organization looks to fill the gaps in the Canadian labour market, focusing on the tech, trades, film, social services and hospitality sectors as those are strategic for working-age Black people to find a job.
Both Gessesse and James added a societal shift is needed in order to address the disparity for the Black population.
“What message are we giving to the students? How might young people read that as possible to their detriment?” James said.
Statistics Canada said it’s releasing a subsequent data set taking a closer look at the Black population in the coming months. It will include data that will analyze education and earnings among the sub-groups within Canada’s Black diaspora.
Twenty-six organizations call for MSI for migrant workers in Nova Scotia
Halifax, NS (March 21, 2022) – Today, as the spring session of the Nova Scotia legislature opens, twenty-six organizations have published an open letter calling for healthcare access for Kerian Burnett and all migrant workers in Nova Scotia. Today is also the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
The signatories to the letter include the Antigonish Coalition to End Poverty, Central Kings Community Health Board, CUPE NS, King’s Students’ Union, National Farmers Union – Nova Scotia, No one is illegal – Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Health Coalition and Western Kings Community Health Board.
In some provinces, migrant workers have access to public healthcare on arrival. In Nova Scotia, migrant workers must have a one-year work permit to be eligible for public healthcare coverage (MSI). This means that Caribbean and Mexican workers who come to Nova Scotia under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) are not eligible, because their contracts are a maximum of 8 months of each calendar year.
“Nova Scotia’s MSI eligibility criteria shuts out this racialized workforce. This is a blatant example of systemic discrimination, which can and must be immediately redressed,” said Stacey Gomez, Manager of the Migrant Workers Program with No one is illegal – Nova Scotia.
Migrant workers in the SAWP only have access to private health insurance, which is tied to their employment.
“Private health insurance from employers and restrictions on eligibility for MSI prevents migrant workers from accessing the care they need leaving them vulnerable and falling through the cracks of our public healthcare system. The NSHC signs onto this letter and supports the call for all migrant workers, especially seasonal agricultural workers, to be eligible for MSI immediately upon arrival in Nova Scotia. Access to free, universal, public healthcare is the right of every human being, regardless of immigration status. We must do better,” said Alexandra Rose, Coordinator of the Nova Scotia Health Coalition.
Ms. Burnett, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer after arriving in Nova Scotia as a migrant worker, now has a Temporary Resident Permit until January 10, 2024. However, she still does not have medical coverage in Nova Scotia. She was advised by her doctor to remain in Canada to undergo life-saving treatments and for follow-up care. Ms. Burnett is currently hospitalized.
– 30 –
No one is illegal – Nova Scotia
Telephone: (902) 329-9595
Canada's inflation rate cools more than expected – Financial Post
OTTAWA — The annual pace of inflation cooled in February as it posted its largest deceleration since April 2020.
Statistics Canada said Tuesday its consumer price index in February was up 5.2 per cent compared with a year earlier.
Analysts polled by Reuters had expected the annual rate to fall to 5.4 per cent.
The reading compared with an annual inflation rate of 5.9 per cent in January and was the lowest annual inflation rate since January 2022 when it was 5.1 per cent.
Statistics Canada noted that the decline was due to a steep monthly increase in prices in February 2022 when the global economy was significantly affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Despite the overall cooling, grocery prices remained elevated and outpaced overall inflation.
Prices for food purchased from stores in February were up 10.6 per cent compared with a year ago, the seventh consecutive month of double-digit increases.
Which food items went up in price in Canada – CTV News
Inflation for goods in Canada is cooling but prices for food remain high, Statistics Canada’s latest report shows.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for February was at 5.2 per cent year-over-year, a decrease from January’s 5.9 per cent year-over-year increase.
“This was the largest deceleration in the headline CPI since April 2020,” the StatCan report reads.
Energy reflected the cooling as prices fell 0.6 per cent year-over-year. Gasoline prices are leading the drop, StatCan says, with a 4.7 per cent difference year-over-year — “the first yearly decline since January 2021.”
“Inflation is cooling more than what was typically expected,” David George-Cosh, BNN Bloomberg reporter, told CTV News Channel on Tuesday. “But when you drill down into some of the details, it’s unlikely to really convince Canadians that the worst is really behind us.”
Despite the overall signs inflation is decreasing, Canadians are not seeing this reflected at grocery stores, where food prices rose 10.6 per cent year-over-year in February. This is a slight decrease from January, which saw a 11.4 per cent year-over-year increase.
FOOD PRICES REMAIN HIGH
February marks the seventh consecutive month of double-digit food inflation, StatCan says.
This pressure is largely due to supply constraints from extreme weather in some regions and higher costs of animal feed, energy and packaging materials.
Pasta products continue to increase in price, with a 23.1 per cent year-over-year difference in February. This is an upward trend from January, which had a year-over-year increase of 21.1 per cent.
Fruit juice had the largest increase in price from January to February 2023, data from StatCan shows. In January, the product had a year-over-year difference of 5.2 per cent; this rose to 15.7 per cent year-over-year in February.
According to StatCan, the quick rise in the cost of fruit juice is led by the increased price of orange juice specifically.
“The supply of oranges has been impacted by citrus greening disease and climate-related events, such as Hurricane Ian,” the CPI report reads.
William Huggins, lecturer of corporate finance and business economics, explained supply chains are under pressure from many areas.
“We’ve had, for instance, problems with avian flu…There are problems with African swine fever in China, we’ve had trouble getting enough employees to come back post pandemic with their steel supply chains,” Huggins told CTV’s Your Morning on Wednesday. “We’ve seen this not just in Canada, but also in the United States as well. So rather than people thinking it’s very much a homegrown problem, it’s much more of a North American logistic problem.”
Oranges on their own have not increased quite as dramatically between January and February of this year. According to the data, in January oranges had a year-over-year increase of 14.1 per cent, which rose to 15.1 per cent year-over-year in February.
Similarly, apples rose in price year-over-year to 16.6 per cent in February, a 4.5 per cent increase from January.
Some areas did see prices slowing, StatCan said.
Meat products decreased to 6.2 per cent year-over-year, though this is a smaller decrease than in January.
But Canadians aren’t seeing decreases in all types of meat.
Fresh or frozen poultry remained high, as StatCan pegged the year-over-year increase at 10.7 per cent in February, a slight increase from January.
Fish, seafood and other marine products increased by 1 per cent from January’s year-over-year marker to 7.4 per cent year-over-year in February.
Fresh or frozen beef saw a reduction in February, with a year-over-year increase of 2.4 per cent compared to January’s 3.7 per cent difference.
Buyers of some types of produce are seeing a cooling effect as well, including the costs of lettuce and tomatoes.
Lettuce in January rose to 32.8 per cent year-over-year, but dropped the next month to 20.2 per cent compared to February 2022.
Tomatoes in January had a 21.9 per cent year-over-year increase, which dropped to 7.1 per cent year-over-year in February.
STUDY SHOWS MISTAKES ON RECEIPTS
Many Canadians are now acutely aware of how much food items cost, so they can ensure they are not paying more, but a new study shows two-thirds (67 per cent) of people have seen a mistake on their grocery receipts in the last year.
Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab polled 5,525 respondents.
According to the survey, 78.5 per cent of those who noted a mistake reported the most common error was that the price at the cash register was not the same price displayed on the shelf. About one-third of respondents said the daily discount was not applied and a total of 31.4 per cent claimed the cashier scanned an item too many times.
A majority of people said they check receipts for mistakes as they exit the store, before getting home. However, the survey notes not all Canadians have the habit of checking for mistakes; only half said they always check, while 3.3 per cent never do.
“As for frequency of mistakes, 79.2 per cent of respondents claim that they find at least no mistakes on their receipts, at least 10 per cent of the time,” the press release reads. “A total of 15.2 per cent will find at least one mistake on their receipt, 25 per cent of the time.”
Food inflation tracker
Note: data for some specific grocery items are available only nationally, and are not available by province. Can’t see the interactive above? Click here.
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