Ontarians from racialized backgrounds are far more likely to live in poverty study finds

Ontarians from racialized backgrounds are far more likely to live in poverty, face barriers to finding a job, and receive less pay for work, says a study of Census data by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

Sexism and racial discrimination pack a double wallop, hampering racialized women’s earning power, says economist Sheila Block, CCPA Research Associate.

"The Census data reveals that in 2005, at the height of pre-recession economic prosperity, women from racialized backgrounds working in Ontario faced real barriers to success," says Block. "They earned about half as much as non-racialized men."

Among the study’s findings:

– Racialized workers face higher unemployment in Ontario: In 2005 the unemployment rate was 8.7 per cent for racialized workers compared to 5.8 per cent for the rest of Ontarians.
– They got paid less: Racialized women earned 53.4 cents for every dollar non-racialized men got; 83.7 cents for every dollar non-racialized women got.
– Gap exists despite education: First-generation racialized Ontarians aged 25-44 who have a university education still get paid less than non-racialized immigrants. For instance, racialized women make only 47 cents for every dollar male, non-racialized immigrants make.
– Poverty gap: Racialized families are three times more likely to live in poverty.

"The findings in this study point to the overwhelming need for governments to step in with policies to help break down racial and gender barriers," says Block.

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