Visible minorities

Visible minority

Visible minority is a term used primarily in Canada to describe persons who are not of the majority race in a given population. In March, 2007, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination described the term as racist because it singles out a group.

In Canada, visible minorities are defined by the Canadian Employment Equity Act as "persons, other than Aboriginals, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour. The term is used as a demographic category used by Statistics Canada in connection with that country's multiculturalism policies. Also, visible minorities are designated as a protected group under the Canadian Employment Equity Act.

Visible minorities in Canada

Over five million Canadians identified themselves as a visible minority in the 2006 Census, accounting for 16.2% of the total population. This was an increased from 2001 where visible minorities accounted for 13.4% of the total population; an increase from 1996 when the proportion was 11.2%; and a major increase over 1991 (9.4%) and 1981 (4.7%). The increase represents a significant shift in Canada's demographics since the advent of that country's multiculturalism policies.

Of the provinces, British Columbia had the highest proportion of visible minorities, representing 21.6% of its population, followed by Ontario at 19.1%. In the 2006 census South Asian Canadians (including those with origins in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, etc.) overtook people of Chinese origin as Canada’s largest visible minority group. in 2006 Statistics Canada estimates there were 1.3 million South Asian people in Canada compared with 1.2 million Chinese. In 2001, there were approximately 1 million Chinese Canadians representing 3.5% of the country’s population, followed by South Asians (3.1%) and Black Canadians (2.2%).

Group Population (2006) % of Total Population (2006)
South Asian 1,262,865 4.0%
Chinese 1,216,515 3.9%
Black 783,795 2.5%
Filipino 410,695 1.3%
Latin American 304,245 1.0%
Southeast Asian 239,935 0.7%
Arab 265,550 0.8%
West Asian 109,285 0.4%
Korean 141,890 0.3%
Japanese 83,300 0.2%
Visible minority, n.i.e. 71,420 0.2%
Multiple visible minorities 133,120 0.2%
Total visible minority population 5,068,095 16.2%
Source: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census, 97F0010XCB2001002


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