(Black Press Media files)

Wealth of Canadians divided along racial lines, says report on income inequality

One interesting finding was that racialized men have a higher employment rate than non-racialized men

Canadians who identify as visible minorities do not have the same access to investments and other sources of wealth as non-racialized people, suggests a new report on income inequality that looks at the financial impact of racism beyond jobs and wages.

“Employment income is the sole or main source of income for most Canadians, and labour market policies play a major role in improving or worsening income inequality,” says a newly published report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, which looks at income inequality along racial lines.

“But labour markets are part of a broader political-economic context, where past and current policies have favoured some population groups over others,” says the report. “This history of wealth accumulation for some but not others is a crucial contributor to racialized economic inequality today.”

There is little Canadian data when it comes to examining wealth according to race, but Statistics Canada did include some details on income linked to net wealth — specifically, capital gains and income from investments — broken down by visible minority status in the 2016 Census.

The analysis in the report suggests a discrepancy between racialized Canadians, which is how the co-authors refer to those who identified in the 2016 Census as visible minorities, and non-racialized, or white, Canadians. The data on visible minorities does not include Indigenous Peoples.

Eight per cent of racialized Canadians over the age of 15 reported some capital gains in 2015, compared to about 12 per cent of non-racialized people. There was also a gap in the amounts, with racialized Canadians receiving, on average, $10,828 — 29 per cent below the average for white Canadians.

There was also gap when it came to money received through investments, such as rental income from real estate holdings or dividends from stocks.

The analysis shows about 25 per cent of racialized people earned income from investments in 2015, while nearly 31 per cent of non-racialized Canadians received money through investments that year. The average amount earned was $7,774 for racialized people, and $11,428 for white people.

Sheila Block, a senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives who co-authored the report, said looking at disparities in wealth, in addition to aspects of the labour market, sheds a new and multifaceted light on the issue of income inequality in Canada.

“When we broaden the lens to look at wealth, rather than just looking at income, it can give us a bigger picture of what the cumulative impact of racism is, both over an individual’s lifespan, but also potentially from one generation to the next,” said Block.

She wrote the report with Grace-Edward Galabuzi, an associate professor of politics and public administration at Ryerson University, and Ricardo Tranjan, a political economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Block said the data available in the United States shows the racialized gap when it comes to wealth is even greater than it is for income.

She hopes that Statistics Canada will consider including a question about visible minority status on its regular survey of financial security, which collects information from Canadians on the value of their assets and the money they owe on everything from mortgages to credit cards.

She said better data could lead to more equitable and effective anti-racism policies.

One interesting finding was that racialized men have a higher employment rate than non-racialized men.

A closer look at these numbers suggests this is age-related, as the employment rate for racialized men between the ages of 55 and 64 was 5.9 percentage points higher than for non-racialized men at that age. Below the age of 55, non-racialized men had higher employment rates.

“This higher employment rate for older racialized men may reflect less access to pension income and lower lifetime earnings, i.e., many in this group may not be able to afford to retire,” says the report.

The report also examines the gender gap, concluding that race plays an important role in income inequality between men and women too.

According to the report, which used figures from the 2016 Census, racialized women earn 59 cents for every dollar earned by non-racialized men. Racialized men, meanwhile, earn 78 cents for every dollar earned by their white male counterparts. The gap was narrowest, but not closed, between women, with racialized women earning 87 cents for every dollar earned by white women.

“I think it’s important that we look at the gender wage gaps, rather than the singular gender wage gap,” Block said.

ALSO READ: B.C. Premier John Horgan worried about ‘rise of racism’ in Canada

ALSO READ: Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

Joanna Smith, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Some bystanders with fire extinguishers helped keep the fire under control. Photo courtesy Suzie Thomas
Bystanders keep fire from spreading near McIvor Lake turnoff

‘Just be vigilant and careful,’ says Campbell River fire chief

The Pier Street Farmers Market will once again take up residence on Sundays from May to Septmber at the parking lot across from the Community Centre in downtown Campbell River for 2021. Mirror File Photo
Pier Street Farmers Market returns to Cedar Street parking lot for 2021

…and it’s hoped that the addition of artisans this year will make it even better

Some recommendations from the Downtown Safety Select Committee have been approved by Campbell River City Council, including removing the glass stage covering at Spirit Square. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Council going ahead with removing Spirit Square stage covering

But mayor acknowledges need for ‘welcoming, warm place with support services’

A small fire on North Rendezvous Island is the first wildfire of the season in the Campbell River area. Officials are asking people to take caution when burning during these dry conditions. BC Wildfire Dashboard
‘Conditions are tricky at the moment’ warns Coastal Fire Centre

Small fire on North Rendezvous Island first of the season for Campbell River area

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Photo by Metro Creative Connection
New campgrounds coming to B.C. parks as part of $83M provincial boost

This season alone, 185 campsites are being added to provincial parks, says Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Most Read