Black Canadians are being hit disproportionately hard by COVID-19 physically and financially, according to a new study which was carried out by the Edmonton-based African Canadian Civic Engagement Council and Innovative Research Group.
The study looked at the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 from the perspectives of Black Canadians and those in the broader Canadian population.
It found that Black Canadians are more likely than other Canadians to seek treatment and experience layoffs due to the virus and are also more likely to report feeling at risk on their commute to work.
The research comes after warnings from advocates, researchers and social agencies across Canada that a lack of race-based data is a barrier to ensuring those most affected by the pandemic get the help they need.
The study’s findings show Black Canadians are more likely than other Canadians to be infected or hospitalized by the disease.
Black Canadians are also more likely (56 -43 per cent ) to report layoffs or reduced working hours in their household and are more worried about paying rent (45-36 per cent). They are also more likely than the Canadian average to say their household finances have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
Among other findings:
– Although further research is needed, poorer health outcomes for Black Canadians may be explained by greater exposure at work to the virus.
– Black Canadians are much more likely to report their job requires them to work with people face-to-face
-They are also more likely to feel that no matter what steps they take, their day-to-day routine puts them at an uncomfortably high risk of catching the virus.
– Those who worked in front-line jobs, such as cashiers, personal support workers, nurses and drivers, and who relied on public transit to get to work reported they felt most at risk.
– A factor may be the commute, as Black Canadians are twice as likely to take public transport and twice as likely to report that their commute is unsafe
The survey was conducted online among a representative sample of 2,322 Canadians, including 400 Black Canadians, from June 17 through June 30.