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Most Canadians believe systemic racism exists in the country: poll

Last Updated Jun 11, 2020 at 6:53 am PST

FILE - Protesters speaking out against racism and police brutality gathered in Vancouver on June 5. The protest and many others like it around the world were sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of police. (Isabelle Raghem, CityNews Vancouver)

Most Canadians polled believe discrimination is common on this side of the border

Abacus Data survey finds 61 per cent of respondents say systemic or institutional racism exists in Canada

Survey results come as anti-racism protests sweep across globe in wake of George Floyds death at hands of police

TORONTO – More than two-thirds of Canadians believe discrimination is common in this country.

According to a poll Abacus Data poll conducted for CityNews, another 61 per cent think systemic or institutional racism exists on this side of the border.

The pollster examined the way Canadians see discrimination and racism, as anti-Black racism protests continue across the globe in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis more than two weeks ago.

In Quebec and the Atlantic provinces, just more than 50 per cent think systemic racism exists in Canada, meaning there are barriers or obstacles for people of some races that don’t exist for others. The number was higher in in Ontario and Alberta at around 65 per cent.

Related article: A majority of Canadians support anti-racism protests in the U.S., poll finds

The poll found respondents think Muslims, Black people, Transgender and Indigenous people were most likely to experience discrimination, with more than 75 per cent of Canadians believing they experience discrimination in society.

The Abacus Data survey randomly sampled 1,750 Canadian adults between June 5-10 and is considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.31 percentage points.

A similar poll was conducted back in 2016 and since then, those thinking Black people were likely to experience “a lot of” discrimination increased by nine per cent, Indigenous people by seven per cent, and people of Asian descent increased six per cent. Those thinking Muslims were likely to experience “a lot of” discrimination decreased by nine per cent.

Related video: Majority of Canadians believe prejudice against visible minorities exists

Ontario Premier Doug Ford recently came under fire for comments that Canada doesn’t have the “systemic, deep roots” of racism that the U.S. does. He later walked back on those remarks, acknowledging systemic racism exists in his province and across the country.

Anti-Black racism protests have swept across the globe, including in Vancouver, since Floyd’s death. He died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck for more than eight minutes, even after Floyd stopped moving.

On Thursday, Rogers Sports & Media will be hosting a one-hour special called Ending Racism: What Will it Take? to continue the conversation in the fight against racism.

Hosted by Cityline’s Tracy Moore and Sportsnet’s Donnovan Bennett, the special will air on Citytv, Sportsnet, OMNI Television, and Rogers TV community stations at 7:00 p.m. PT.

It will also be streamed on this website starting at 4:00 p.m. PT.

Rogers is the parent company of this station