Four-in-five “Visible Minority” British Columbians Have Experienced Discrimination or Racism

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A majority of residents think immigration levels should either increase or stay at the current levels.

Vancouver, B.C. – Despite support for multiculturalism by the vast majority of British Columbians, a new report by Vancity credit union indicates 82 per cent of visible minorities say they have experienced prejudice or some form of discrimination.

The report, Good Intentions: an examination of attitudes on immigration and experiences of racial discrimination in British Columbia, includes a 2017 poll of B.C. residents commissioned by Vancity and conducted by Insights West. The report found:

  • 70 per cent of all respondents, regardless of their cultural origin, have experienced or witnessed some form of discrimination or racism; this jumps to 82 per cent for those who identify as a visible minority.
  • 56 per cent of all respondents have overheard racist comments.
  • Of those who identify as a visible minority
    • 57 per cent believe people make assumptions about their group
    • 46 per cent feel they face social disadvantages because of their ethnic background
    • 33 per cent have felt they have been a target of abuse
    • 29 per cent believe they have faced discrimination based on their name
    • 10 per cent feel they have faced disadvantages because of their religious affiliation and
    • for 11 per cent, the experience of discrimination has been traumatic enough to make them consider moving to a new location.

However, 82 per cent of British Columbians surveyed think multiculturalism has been “very good” or “good” for Canada. Three-quarters (76%) say they think the number of immigrants to Canada should remain the same (48%) or increase (28%). More than two-thirds (67%) say they think the number of refugees should remain the same (38%) or increase (29%). Almost two-thirds (62%) of respondents also believe that immigration creates new economic opportunities.

Vancity commissioned the report to explore the experiences of British Columbians in advance of a series of community roundtable discussions on immigration and racial discrimination sponsored by Vancity in partnership with S.U.C.C.E.S.S. (a multicultural service agency that assists new Canadians to overcome cultural and language barriers). The discussions will be held throughout the Lower Mainland to explore ways of building diverse, resilient and sustainable communities.

As part of a public campaign on diversity and inclusion until May 30, for British Columbians who join Vancity and set up a pre-authorized payment or deposit, the credit union will donate $100 to the Vancity Humanitarian Fund to support refugee families.

Vancity has also contributed an additional $100,000 as an endowment to the Vancity Humanitarian Fund, which is administered by the Vancity Community Foundation. The fund recently made a distribution of $50,000 to support refugees settling in Victoria and Abbotsford.

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“The majority of British Columbians are welcoming and embrace multiculturalism. However, it’s clear that racism is alive and well in our communities and we need to call it out when we see it. But we also need to drive healthy dialogue that builds understanding and respect in a way that allows us to have conversations without fear of being labelled racist or saying the wrong thing. That’s what we hope the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. community roundtables on immigration and racial discrimination will help accomplish.”

– Catherine Ludgate, Vancity’s manager of community investment

Additional information

About Vancity
Vancity is a values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its more than 519,000 member-owners and their communities in the Coast Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw territories, with 59 branches in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Squamish and Alert Bay. As Canada’s largest community credit union, Vancity uses its $19.8 billion in assets to help improve the financial well-being of its members while at the same time helping to develop healthy communities that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.

For more information:
Lorraine Wilson | Vancity
T: 778-837-0394
E: mediarelations@vancity.com
Twitter: @vancity
Facebook: facebook/vancity

 

Photograph: David Meurin