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What are your experiences as a Black or Indigenous person in Canadian workforce?

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  • Aug 3rd, 2020 12:16 pm
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Aug 31, 2017
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What are your experiences as a Black or Indigenous person in Canadian workforce?

EDIT: I've updated the title again, yet, anyone can still share if they’d like.
With the recent waves of police brutality in the USA (despite this going on for years) and Canada, how do you feel in your current role / career / industry? Any stories you care to share based on what you’ve experienced?
I keep seeing a lot of token gestures to make the brand look good, but still a far ways from what is actually needed.

I’ll start on what I’ve noticed in the past decade or so in my career.

- Mediocrity is celebrated, but you have to work 10* harder and still get passed on promotions. For some reason, there’s a believe that Black people specifically don’t want to start families, own a home, build equity, and thrive so they’re giving token awards to feel good but not the monetary benefits they deserve


- Frontline and entry level roles continue to be where “diversity” is met on the company mission. Talented people both old and young are not giving the opportunities or tools to move up, this was depressing when I first entered the workforce.

- White women have now become the standard for diversifying boards with more women. Women of colour, and specifically Black women, are still treated as lesser than.

- People speak a lot on other issues in their home countries, but when it pertains to Black and Indigenous they become silent or very hostile towards them
Last edited by MyNameWasTaken on Jul 29th, 2020 8:06 pm, edited 7 times in total.
76 replies
Deal Guru
Feb 29, 2008
12646 posts
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I will say, "diversity" is really just another buzzword. Companies aren't really interested in having diversity outside of entry level roles if you exclude "white women". They are the biggest benefactor of diversity and "affirmative action". I like to look up random company executive staff to get a laugh eery once in a while. It is a sea of white men and the occasional white woman. As you said diversity is only maybe seen at the entry level position...and maybe 95% of those people's careers have been pre-determined. They will not make it past that level. A very small number make it through but they have to truly be exceptional. Head and shoulders above their peers. There's no nepotism. For that reason people have developed this notion that certain groups are unable to reach the highest of levels because of aptitude. That couldn't be further from the truth. I've seen plenty of non-minority people get moved into management roles who had no business being there and were clearly unqualified. Can't say the same for minorities in management or executive level. There's no fast track for them.

That's not to say white people in upper management roles did not earn their level. Not at all. I'm saying there are many in those positions that got helped along in a fashion minorities simply do not experience. If you're a minority you are going to have a tougher time finding employment. Some minorities have it worse. Harder time to find housing, harder time to get a loan. It is the nature of our society. While some like to focus on the ills of certain communities...and those discussions are warranted. These same people do not want to discuss the ills that those communities suffer and how they impact them in every day life such as employment, home ownership, police interactions or general interactions with people. Enough with focussing on the small group that may be involved in crime. Focus on the much larger group of law abiding citizens that still deal with institutionalized racism on a daily basis.
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May 4, 2010
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I can only really speak to my industry - which I will agree with poster above. If you look at the majority of marketing executive pages, they are all white men and a few women (blonde, blue-eyed). The best one that made me go 'wtf?' was an agency that specialized in ethnic marketing.....their staff page was all white people. How does that make any sense?

There is definitely a bias that takes place in these places, especially with the women, a lot of them have the same look and they will have a better shot of getting an 'in' . I don't want to sound bitter because I'm not (its just the reality of it).

It feels like it's changing but it's very slow.
Jr. Member
May 29, 2017
131 posts
68 upvotes
Umm... well..

While we should always respect and appreciate that police in Canada are far less scary than police in america. So when im stopped I really don't have to worry if ill die. Everyone has different experiences and we need to respect that what happens to one doesn't happen to us all. I have several personal stories where racism in Toronto has taken place, but most either don't believe or think it doesn't exist anymore. I always roll my eyes at them. I been called a liar by so many people when I told them how often I been "carded" they all respond to me about how its illegal so im obviously not telling the truth. My eyes roll

Considering this is in the career section.... I would say this. We have a lot of opportunities. I been interviewed for decent jobs with great pay and positions. That being said, I recently braided my hair and within 12hrs I been told by 3 different black people. No one will hire you with your hair like that. I loosened it out before that interview because I knew that too. As Paul Mooney once said, " I knew you had a job Because you're hair is relaxed. When your hair is relaxed, they are relaxed. If you're hair is nappy, they're not happy" Its a joke, but it has a dark hidden truth.

My friend who worked for the government had some kind of ethnic understanding seminar. So basically its black cultural group explaining what its really like behind the sunshine and sprinkles that most never see or understand. WIth an audience of roughly 50 employees of the city for at least her department. They asked a question. How many of the black people where are employed with the city. Around 7 hands went up. Then 2nd question was how many of you are actually in management or a supervisory role. No hands were to be seen.

From my personal experience, I have seen a great deal of opportunity, and as I grow older i see a lot less obvious racism, however, I worked in a company for 4 years. I did technical support and design where my manager overseen everything I did. I had 4 years of amazing employee reviews. Great feed back every time. No failed projects that I ever lead or been part of. I felt I was a star. I got along with the technicians, the engineers, and clients. I worked great with almost everyone(clashes with marketing/customer support when they make promises before asking if its even possible) . My manager was promoted to project manager so there was a position for his old position. We hired a guy for lv 1 tech support who I helped interview and from his background hes a great technician and while he did lack any education outside highschool, he had decent experience and 100% capable of learning. He got my bosses old position and became by boss. The decision obviously made me sick to my stomach. It made no sense. how can he be more qualified for the position than me. I vented my anger and frustration to the operations manager and booker keeper. They both had similar answers. Look in teh mirror. While operations manager is a minority(hes hlaf Columbian), he asked if I noticed why any manager other than himself isn't white.

Again... my experience and I promise there are many who will never experience this and have amazing careers. Old communication teacher when we first came to this country, is now a principal of the school i went to. My middle school was also, ran by a black person so again... my experinces however, there are some places we aren't all so equal.
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Jan 12, 2017
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As others have already mentioned, from a workplace perspective, people of colour, and in particular, male people of colour are heavily discriminated against. I find there to be little difference between black and persons of colour in general.

Rather, those with poor verbal english skills tend to be almost instantly discarded. Hard to say if this is really discrimination as communication is a definitely an important skill.

I would say indirect discrimination occurs due to the almost universal default to a bachelor's degree as a minimum requirement.

Perhaps the biggest equalizer that the government can put in place is allow a merit-based opportunity for people to address the academic requirement deficiencies - e.g. a series of challenge tests that, if passed, indicates a candidate has similar cognitive skills as an average university undergraduate. The reality is, an undergraduate degree means little from a candidate qualification perspective. These days, all it means is that they had sufficient backing from family to get through four years... High school part 2.
MyNameWasTaken wrote: With the recent waves of police brutality in the USA (despite this going on for years) and Canada, how do you feel as a Black or Person of colour in your current role / career / industry? Any stories you care to share based on what you’ve experienced?
I keep seeing a lot of token gestures to make the brand look good, but still a far ways from what is actually needed.

I’ll start on what I’ve noticed in the past decade or so.

- Mediocrity is celebrated, but you have to work 10* harder and still get passed on promotions. For some reason, there’s a believe that Black people specifically don’t want to start families, own a home, build equity, and thrive so they’re giving token awards to feel good but not the monetary benefits they deserve


- Frontline and entry level roles continue to be where “diversity” is met on the company mission. Talented people both old and young are not giving the opportunities or tools to move up, this was depressing when I first entered the workforce.

- White women have now become the standard for diversifying boards with more women. Women of colour, and specifically Black women, are still treated as lesser than.

- People speak a lot on other issues in their home countries, but when it pertains to Black and Indigenous they become silent or very hostile towards them
Member
Sep 16, 2017
344 posts
234 upvotes
The other question is, why is gross incompetence rewarded in the workplace? regardless of colour, i find this a new norm - and people who try to make a difference and add value are repeatedly seen as "a threat, or an issue".

There are so many people who are unqualified for management positions who are filling those roles and are a complete waste.
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Nov 13, 2010
6878 posts
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Scarborough
MasterBD wrote: The other question is, why is gross incompetence rewarded in the workplace? regardless of colour, i find this a new norm - and people who try to make a difference and add value are repeatedly seen as "a threat, or an issue".

There are so many people who are unqualified for management positions who are filling those roles and are a complete waste.
I’ve said it before on this forum

In canada, you have to just do the stuff. Do not be efficient, dont try to rush or show efficiency or speed etc as you will become a “threat” to your coworkers or superiors
Do not rock thr boat, stay in the status quo
Anyone asking too many or competency related questions will be told to “calm down” and just accept whatever is provided.

Thats why there’s no interest or innovation or new discoveries or new stuff here. Look at cic they still run paperwork and 50 yr old procedures in the name of “control” and “govt regulations” and u cant do jack about it

This is why the smart/brilliant ones leave right away after they spend 3-4 yrs upgrade their degrees and get citizenship in that time. Then its dubai, usa, germany etc where they’re appreciated and wellpaid
In canada, u go in, do the min. shit you need to do for the day, and go home. No rocking the boat and no jumping above your “threshold” that has already been established when u were hired. People around you will clearly tell u whether or not you will move up, lolz
To be in the top you gotta be white, preferably have british accent/roots/names and have the blue, grey or green eyes. Gotta reward britain no matter what by sending them money in contracts and business.
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Feb 29, 2008
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apnayloags wrote: I’ve said it before on this forum

In canada, you have to just do the stuff. Do not be efficient, dont try to rush or show efficiency or speed etc as you will become a “threat” to your coworkers or superiors
Do not rock thr boat, stay in the status quo
Anyone asking too many or competency related questions will be told to “calm down” and just accept whatever is provided.

Thats why there’s no interest or innovation or new discoveries or new stuff here. Look at cic they still run paperwork and 50 yr old procedures in the name of “control” and “govt regulations” and u cant do jack about it

This is why the smart/brilliant ones leave right away after they spend 3-4 yrs upgrade their degrees and get citizenship in that time. Then its dubai, usa, germany etc where they’re appreciated and wellpaid
In canada, u go in, do the min. shit you need to do for the day, and go home. No rocking the boat and no jumping above your “threshold” that has already been established when u were hired. People around you will clearly tell u whether or not you will move up, lolz
To be in the top you gotta be white, preferably have british accent/roots/names and have the blue, grey or green eyes. Gotta reward britain no matter what by sending them money in contracts and business.
Probably because Canada pays for the minimum. They don’t want to spend the money to train people properly. Thry do not care if people are leaving. Thry expect it. Thry will just keep shipping people in from China, India, etc to underpay in entry level roles.

I invest my money because I’m not hitting executive level. I already know this. Not because I’m a low achiever. I’m just realistic.
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May 4, 2010
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MasterBD wrote: The other question is, why is gross incompetence rewarded in the workplace? regardless of colour, i find this a new norm - and people who try to make a difference and add value are repeatedly seen as "a threat, or an issue".

There are so many people who are unqualified for management positions who are filling those roles and are a complete waste.
I have to say.....there is so much truth to this post. That's why I love this forum, it keeps me grounded. I can't be the only one thinking these things lol.

During my experience it definitely felt that management were just puppets being controlled by senior folk. They were embarrassingly unqualified and uncaring in their roles. That's one thing that's been a constant. There were people are my job that were literally doing nothing all day and stretching out any task they did have while WFH but they were part of the protected group of employers so no way were they getting laid off.

At my next job I will certainly make it a point not to go above and beyond, what has it gotten me?
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Jul 13, 2009
4440 posts
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As a recruiter of 10 years + I've seen it all.

Best was presenting the same resume with a different name, one was with the person's "English" name, and the other with their given name. I presented it a day apart. Hiring manager is also "Person of Colour" (i really hate that term tbh, we all coloured and shaded!) but it's their crappy attitude and perception of others.

The person was hired but I swapped the name after lol. Ended up being one of the best ever, recognized and awarded in a Fortune 100 company. Highly revered and I keep meeting this particular person's mentees and employees, all rave reviews.

As a recruiter i refuse to play the game of "ooo let's seek out more diversity". If you hire based solely on skills, experience, character, and be a respectable employer, you will hire the best. Not the best "person of colour" or best "particular ethnicity". This isn't America here in Toronto, there's enough diversity and no need to actively seek them out, it's so patronizing. I also refuse to read in between the lines when hiring managers want something in particular, I flat out and say "You're going to get qualified candidates, qualified for the job and share the same values as the company".

Where I work now is highly diversified and it's what I love about tech recruitment, hiring managers are so objective, all about beautiful code, sound logic, and teamwork. No BS, no dumb requests, and they follow all the rules.
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Jul 13, 2009
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MasterBD wrote: The other question is, why is gross incompetence rewarded in the workplace? regardless of colour, i find this a new norm - and people who try to make a difference and add value are repeatedly seen as "a threat, or an issue".

There are so many people who are unqualified for management positions who are filling those roles and are a complete waste.
Funny how some companies encourage feedback from employees, then see the feedback and decide "yeah we should stop asking what they think about us".

Very few companies succeed on acting on difficult feedback and empowering employees to provide truthful feedback.

I'm really lucky to have a manager I can openly express my feelings to in the form of memes and gifs.
Deal Guru
Feb 29, 2008
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bhrm wrote: As a recruiter of 10 years + I've seen it all.

Best was presenting the same resume with a different name, one was with the person's "English" name, and the other with their given name. I presented it a day apart. Hiring manager is also "Person of Colour" (i really hate that term tbh, we all coloured and shaded!) but it's their crappy attitude and perception of others.

The person was hired but I swapped the name after lol. Ended up being one of the best ever, recognized and awarded in a Fortune 100 company. Highly revered and I keep meeting this particular person's mentees and employees, all rave reviews.

As a recruiter i refuse to play the game of "ooo let's seek out more diversity". If you hire based solely on skills, experience, character, and be a respectable employer, you will hire the best. Not the best "person of colour" or best "particular ethnicity". This isn't America here in Toronto, there's enough diversity and no need to actively seek them out, it's so patronizing. I also refuse to read in between the lines when hiring managers want something in particular, I flat out and say "You're going to get qualified candidates, qualified for the job and share the same values as the company".

Where I work now is highly diversified and it's what I love about tech recruitment, hiring managers are so objective, all about beautiful code, sound logic, and teamwork. No BS, no dumb requests, and they follow all the rules.
The numbers say Toronto is just like America....maybe even worse.
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Nov 13, 2013
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JayLove06 wrote: The numbers say Toronto is just like America....maybe even worse.
What numbers are you talking about?

If you are talking about Black people in positions than of course. US percentage is 3-4 times greater. OP is probably counting East Asians who are well represented in Canada but again are a much higher percentage than in US.
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Jul 13, 2009
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fogetmylogin wrote: What numbers are you talking about?

If you are talking about Black people in positions than of course. US percentage is 3-4 times greater. OP is probably counting East Asians who are well represented in Canada but again are a much higher percentage than in US.
Proportions are different but all employees want are equal treatment and fairness. Whenever I see companies make commitments like "Increase hiring of XYZ background", how does it make people of non-XYZ feel and how would they feel towards XYZ? It's not helping but fueling resentment and not improving. Employees want to be judged and evaluated fairly for promotions and opportunities. work hard and be rewarded the same as anyone else.
Deal Addict
Jan 12, 2017
1105 posts
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Completely agree. Quota's have negative effects.
bhrm wrote: Proportions are different but all employees want are equal treatment and fairness. Whenever I see companies make commitments like "Increase hiring of XYZ background", how does it make people of non-XYZ feel and how would they feel towards XYZ? It's not helping but fueling resentment and not improving. Employees want to be judged and evaluated fairly for promotions and opportunities. work hard and be rewarded the same as anyone else.

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