Economic Security

Economic security includes deliberate programs initiated by stakeholders, such as the government and other partners as nonprofits and private companies across Canada. These programs include Social Security, food assistance, tax credits, and housing assistance (Trisi & Saenz, 2021). The success of Canada as a country largely depends on all citizens having economic security and equal access to opportunities for them to thrive regardless of their racial background (Trisi & Saenz, 2021). 

Studies have shown that economic security programs are an instrumental mechanism in reducing poverty for millions of people across the world — including children, who are highly vulnerable to poverty’s negative impacts (Men et al., 2020b;Trisi & Saenz, 2021). As much as there are other barriers to opportunities for citiizens, including discrimination and disparities in access to employment, education, and health care, there are concerns of poverty rates which are much higher for some racial and ethnic groups than others (Trisi & Saenz, 2021). Therefore, to ensure economic security across all racial divides, it is important to support those that need to be uplifted through deliberate socio-economic programs and inclusion into the mainstream economy.

The absence of economic security creates insecurities across communities. These include household food insecurity, a situation characterized by inadequate or insecure access to food due to financial constraints (Jessiman-Perreault & McIntyre, 2017; McIntyre et al., 2012b). Unemployed citizens in Canada and elsewhere globally have been shown to face food insecurity which has been linked to increased risk of chronic physical and mental health problems (Jessiman-Perreault & McIntyre, 2017 ; McIntyre et al., 2012b), increased health care utilization and costs (Men et al., 2020b), and higher mortality rates (Men et al., 2020a). Hence, despite the huge strides in the economic development across the country, food insecurity rates remain quite high, with 12.7% of households having experienced some form of food insecurity in 2017–2018 (Tarasuk & Mitchell, 2020). This situation has been further exacerbated by the induced impacts of COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in loss of lives, jobs amoth other effects (Statistics Canada, 2020).

Across Canada, there is a need to support the vulnerable citizens through creating and improving existing support mechanisms at all levels of governance to equalize access to opportunities. These opportunities include access to child care, support on finding jobs, equal access to elementary and secondary education as well as access to healthcare (McIntyre et al., 2012b; Jessiman-Perreault & McIntyre, 2017; Trisi & Saenz, 2021).  

Employment is also a key contributor for economic security. Having a paid job can open doors for citizens to have access to lots of opportunities that can support their well-being. As such employment numbers are important to estimate the exelevel of economic security for citizens. According to Statistics Canada, as of July 2021, there were 18,790, 000[1] people employed across the country. Out of these employment numbers, Statistics Canada data further shows that Black Canadians are more likely to have a university degree than Canadians who are not a visible minority. Without further investigation, this statistic alone could imply that Black people would generally be associated with a higher employment rate and higher earnings which is an economic security issue (Statistics Canada, 2021). However, closer examination of the data shows lower rates of employment levels across black population in Canada.

In January 2021, Black Canadians aged between 25- to 54-year-olds were more likely to hold a bachelor’s degree or higher (42.8%) than Canadians in the same age group who were not a visible minority (33.6%)[2]. However, Black Canadians with a university degree had a lower employment rate (86.1%) than their non-visible minority counterparts (91.1%).[3] These point to the issues of systematic racism and racial inequity that have been topical issues of debate even in the 20 September 2021, election Leader’s debate.

In addition, Black men (43.3%) and women (42.3%) aged 25 to 54 were equally likely to have a university degree, a higher proportion of non-visible minority women had a university degree (39.1%) compared with non-visible minority men (28.4%)[4]. Black Canadians have also been shown to be less likely to be self-employed due to barriers to self-employment and entrepreneurship such as access to business finance and higher poverty levels than other racial groups (Statistics Canada, 2021). As of January 2021, only 9.1% of the Black were found to be less likely to be self-employed than non-visible minority Canadians (13.6%). Also, the self-employment rate among Black men (12.0%) was nearly twice as high as the rate for Black women (6.1%). [5]

Black Canadians have also been shown to have faced a disproportionately higher unemployment rate during the pandemic than other races. For instance, 12.5% of Black Canadians in the labour force were unemployed at the time of the 2016 Census, compared with 6.9% of non-visible minority Canadians[6]. The Labor Force Survey showed that in the first three months of the year ending in January 2021 showed that the unemployment rate among Black Canadians (13.1%) was about 70% higher than that among non-visible minority Canadians (7.7%)[7].


References:

1.    Jessiman-Perreault, G., & McIntyre, L. (2017). The household food insecurity gradient and potential reductions in adverse population mental health outcomes in Canadian adults. SSM-population health, 3, 464-472.

2.    Men, F., Gundersen, C., Urquia, M. L., & Tarasuk, V. (2020). Association between household food insecurity and mortality in Canada: a population-based retrospective cohort study. CMAJ, 192(3), E53-E60.

3.    Statistics Canada. (2020). Food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic, May 2020. Statistics Canada.

4.    Tarasuk, V., St-Germain, A. A. F., & Mitchell, A. (2019). Geographic and socio-demographic predictors of household food insecurity in Canada, 2011–12. BMC public health, 19(1), 1-12.

5.    Trisi, D., & Saenz, M. (2021). Economic Security Programs Reduce Overall Poverty, Racial and Ethnic Inequities.

6. Government of Canada supports revitalization of main streets and neighbourhoods across southern Ontario – Canada.ca. Accessed 10 September, 2021.7. 

7.  https://www.canada.ca/en/office-infrastructure/news/2021/07/deputy-prime-minister-announces-17-billion-in-support-for-ontario-municipalities-through-the-canada-community-building-fund.html. Accessed 10 September, 2021.