Disparities uncovered in Black Labour Market Assessment

Black-owned businesses are shut out of important economic activities in Canada

By Lincoln DePradine

Dr. C. Justine Pierre

A call is being made for advocacy groups to engage in lobbying efforts to ensure “equity in hiring and promotion practices’’, as a newly released survey reports that there are “significant disparities between Black workers and their non-Black counterparts in Ontario’’.

The advocacy call is contained in the report of a “Black Labour Market Needs Assessment’’, which was conducted by Toronto-based Dunn Pierre Barnett and Company Canada Ltd.

The report also reveals that the number one reason Black businesses fail in Canada is because most white and non-Black business owners do not have Black suppliers or conduct business with Black-owned companies.

In April 2022, Dunn Pierre Barnett was contracted by the Afro-Canadian Business Network (ACBN) to conduct Canada’s first-ever “Rapid Black Labour Market Needs Assessment’’.  The company’s report was presented for discussion at ACBN’s monthly meeting in September last year. It’s now available to the public.

“This Rapid Assessment survey has shone a light on many of the business and workplace challenges faced by the Black community in Ontario, particularly in the areas of employment, entrepreneurship, and access to resources. Through data analysis and consultation, this first-of-its-kind report identifies key challenges and opportunities for Black businesses and workers in Ontario,’’ said Dr. C. Justine Pierre, Director of Dunn, Pierre, Barnett & Company Canada Ltd.

Disparities were uncovered, with particular disadvantages confronting women of African descent, Pierre said.

“The findings of the report highlight significant disparities between Black workers and their non-Black counterparts in Ontario,’’ he explained. “For example, while Black Ontarians in the workforce have nearly identical levels of education, Black workers are disproportionately represented in low-paying jobs, underrepresented in management positions, and make 50 percent less than their white male counterparts in certain fields, even when holding advanced degrees.  Additionally, the report noted that Black women face a double disadvantage, that of facing both racial and gender discrimination in the workplace.’’

The Dunn, Pierre, Barnett report examined the failure of Black Canadians businesses, and also makes recommendations.

“The fact is that Black businesses are rejected at eight times the rate of regular businesses and most importantly, non-Black business owners – about 70 percent of the population – do not conduct business with the Black business community. So, Black-owned businesses are predominantly shut out of many of the country’s important financial, economic and industrial activities in Canada,’’ Pierre said.

The report identifies, among other things, the need for training of Black entrepreneurs in the areas of customer service, business management, and adherence to acceptable business standards.

Recommendations of the report include the need for increased Government monitoring and reporting of Black employment figures, and for “advocacy groups forming coalitions to lobby for equity in hiring and promotion practices’’.

Pierre, underscoring the urgent importance of conducting a National Black Labour Market Needs Assessment, noted that “the United Nations and the International Labour Organization have long held the view that conducting a Labour Market Needs Assessment or LMNA is essential in all countries, as it lays the foundation for skills training, youth engagement, economic, social and community development”. 

Since its inception in 1944, the World Bank has funded Labour Market Assessment surveys in over 137 countries worldwide in support of the socio-economic development of their citizens.

According to Pierre, countries such as India, Jamaica, Japan, Ghana, and the European countries, routinely conduct Labour Market Assessments on their population.  National organizations such as the Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE), the Black Caucus, the Federation of Black Canadians, the Foundation for Black Communities, and the Federal and Provincial governments are now being called upon to promote and implement a Black Labour Market Needs Assessment at the national level.

The full report of the “Black Labour Market Needs Assessment’’ is now available to the public from Dunn Pierre Barnett’s website at https://www.dpbglobal.com/shop/  

Reference: https://acbncanada.com/first-ever-labour-market-needs-assessment-for-black-businesses-in-canada-has-been-launched/