Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2018, 07:53 GMT

State of the World's Minorities 2006 - Canada

Publisher Minority Rights Group International
Publication Date 22 December 2005
Cite as Minority Rights Group International, State of the World's Minorities 2006 - Canada, 22 December 2005, available at: [accessed 24 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The targeting of African-Canadians and members of Canada's Somali and Rastafarian communities, particularly young men, for stops and searches, surveillance, questioning and harassment, continues to be a concern of the community. The African Canadian Legal Clinic has stated that this perceived racial profiling is directly related to the enactment of the Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). In a 2003 focus group concerning their own department, black officers in Toronto stated that racial profiling was an existing policy and, further, that they experienced racism on the job, all of which the police department pledged to address internally. On 20 February 2005, there was a racial incident at a Scarborough police station in which Inspector David McLeod, a member of the 2003 focus group, felt that he was discriminated against according to his race. In follow-up meetings related to this incident, the police department heard testimony from black officers of 'differential enforcement activities' with regard to people of colour, the perpetuation of the stereotype of extra attention paid to black motorists in expensive cars and neighbourhoods, and racist attitudes and behaviour within the department going unexplored and unpunished. The Toronto police department has taken administrative and training steps to address the problem of racial profiling and internal discrimination against people of colour.

Indigenous peoples

Amnesty International, in its 4 October 2004 report, has found that indigenous women and girls experience a disproportionate risk of violence that Canadian officials are doing little to address. Specifically, the report asserts that the police have failed to provide indigenous women with adequate protections; this is coupled with the impact that government policies have had on the economic and social marginalization of indigenous women, thrusting them into 'poverty, homelessness and prostitution'. It is held that the danger for these women from discriminatory violence lies in their identity as both female and indigenous people.

In the past 10 years, the population growth of First Nation peoples has outstripped that of white Canadians. However, the purchasing power of indigenous people has actually fallen by 14 per cent, and the government has only increased health and social service spending for the communities on par with inflation, not with the actual increase of people requiring services. In 2004, a Community Well-Being Index developed by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development found that in the top 100 Canadian communities, there was one First Nation community. In the bottom 100, there were 92 First Nation communities.

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