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Racial Discrimination in the Workplace & Understanding Your Rights

Racism is believed by many to be virtually nonexistent in Canada today; but this idea couldn’t be more wrong. Non-Caucasian individuals experience racism of all forms on a regular basis, and it is by no means uncommon for a person of colour to experience this kind of treatment in the workplace.

The existence of racism not only causes immeasurable mental harm for individuals, but it also affects their financial well-being and overall quality of life. Today, Canadians of colour earn approximately 81 cents for every dollar made by a Caucasian, and this wage gap is even larger for workers that are indigenous, female or disabled. As it is for all discrimination, these wage differences have nothing to do with poor performance of lack of qualifications. In fact, many people who immigrate to Canada are overlooked for jobs despite having high levels of education, being multilingual and/or being extremely experienced in their field.

For many of these individuals, unions are the answer to being treated equally in the workplace, but unfortunately, people of colour have a 30 per cent lower rate of unionization than Caucasian workers in Canada.

Regardless of industry, unions need to be made accessible to ALL workers, especially minorities and those in low wage positions, as all workers deserve to be empowered and to see their rights upheld.

As a union, we not only want to see basic employment standards upheld, but we want to see them exceeded so that all workers can experience a healthy work environment to breed a better quality of life. We as Teamsters 987, as workers, and as Canadians need to continue to take action against racism and discrimination as it exists in all forms. All workers, regardless of their race, religion, gender, age, class or sexual orientation deserve fair treatment in the workplace, and we won’t stop fighting until we see this come to pass.

“Unions believe we must respect the rights of all people, regardless of race, religion, immigration status or country of origin. We recognize that we all ultimately benefit from the ways immigrants and refugees contribute to and enrich our society.” Canadian Labour Congress President, Hassan Yussuff

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