Is Canada systemically racist? – Press release Oct. 30, 2023

October 30, 2023


OTTAWA AND CALGARY: A new study authored by financial analyst Matthew Lau for the new think tank, the Aristotle Foundation for Public Policy, evaluates claims of systemic racism relative to the incomes and success of ethnic minorities. The results are surprising.

In Systemic racism claims in Canada: A fact-based analysis, Lau examines various ethnic groups in Canada for earnings, education levels, professional occupations, and public-school test scores.

Selected findings:

  • Percentage of Canadians who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher by ethnicity:
    • Highest: Korean (60.5%) and Chinese (56.4%)
    • Total population average (32.9%)
    • Lowest: Southeast Asian (30.5%) and other racialized groups (28.1%)
  • Average weekly earnings of Canadian-born men
    • Highest: Japanese ancestry, $1,750
    • Lowest: Latin American ancestry, $1,160
  • Average weekly earnings of Canadian-born women
    • Highest: Korean ancestry, $1,450
    • Lowest: Latin American ancestry, $1,000
  • Success in occupations: South Asians constitute 7.3% of the working-age population but account for:
    • 12.4% of engineers
    • 12.5% of doctors
    • 19.0% of computing professionals

“Contrary to claims that racial minorities in Canada suffer widespread systemic disadvantages, Statistics Canada data show that Canadian-born individuals of many visible minority groups are succeeding relative to the rest of the population,” notes study author Matthew Lau.

“This finding holds true for many Canadian minorities whether one looks at the average weekly earnings of men or women, educational attainment, test scores, or success in occupations relative to a group’s proportion of the population,” said Lau.

Lastly, Indigenous Canadians are found to have outcomes similar to non-Indigenous workers after controlling for level of education and work status. When apple-to-apple comparisons are made, “Indigenous Canadians earn close to the same incomes as non-Indigenous Canadians…. and slightly above the national average for those with a higher level of education.” Lau summarizes critical factors in Indigenous success as “location and education.”

Link to the study: Systemic racism claims in Canada: A fact-based analysis.

To arrange for an author interview, note the contact below.


Rob Varma, Research Director

Aristotle Foundation for Public Policy

Email: Call / Text: 613 302 5829


Like our work? Think more Canadians should see the facts? Please consider making a donation to the Aristotle Foundation.