Ethnic Minorities Continue to Face Employment Challenges in Canada

Ottawa (May 21, 2009) – The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) expresses its deep concern over a CBC report in ‘The National’ on May 20, 2009 indicating the severe degree of discrimination faced by Canadians with non Anglo-Saxon names, as they seek to join Canada’s work force.

Long believed to be the case, it has now been factually and statistically established very credibly by the University of British Columbia, that people with non-English names are 40% less likely to be called for an interview.

Being judged on the basis of names, that are an integral part of our cultural, geographical, religious and linguistic identity, is the most serious form of systemic discrimination said,”Gurpreet Singh Bal, WSO President”. While this is contrary to Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and a violation of human rights legislation, it seems to be standard mode of operation in Canada’s corporate world.

While CBC has attempted to acquaint people with the pain and hardship suffered by millions of non-English Canadians, they stopped short of identifying the societal and economic loss resulting to our society due to highly qualified people being compelled to perform well below their natural potential and below their educational or professional skills.

Canada’s Human Resources industry, teaching institutions and above all, the corporate employers, must be challenged to identify possible remedies to this obviously unacceptable situation that plagues Canada’s work environment. This is clearly a wake-up call for all Canadians who are consciously aware of the changing face of our society said,”Gian Singh Sandhu, Senior Policy Advisor of WSO”. The need to treat all fellow humans with dignity and respect, devoid of any prejudices, biases and inequalities is enshrined in our Charter and the employers ought to know better than anyone else.

WSO urges the Government of Canada and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to launch necessary action to evaluate the socio-economic impact of prevailing practices, to identify contributing causes and to initiate effective remedies. This may require a combination of additional research, public education and legislative action, but no lack of political will or bureaucratic inertia must be allowed to impede the delivery of equity and justice by ensuring a level playing field for all Canadians as they seek work opportunities commensurate with their skills and abilities.

WSO is recommending to all those who continue to suffer such indignation and prejudices should write to their Members of Parliament and send us a copy of their complaint.


For more information, please contact: Maj (retd.) Jasbeer Singh, Media Relations, Tel. 780-457-3333, Cell. 780-235-6000, email: [email protected];


Amanpreet Singh Bal, Media Relations, Tel. 905-567-1795, Cell. 647-224-0000, email: [email protected]

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