The dynamics of race issues and systemic marginalisation of minorities in Canadian society could easily be misread or misinterpreted by non-Canadians.
This is the assertion of Victor Beausoleil, a Toronto-based social entrepreneur and an advocate of equity, inclusion and empowerment of African Canadians in the North American country.
“In Canada, the discourse related to inclusion, diversity, equity and access is usually not a priority, as well, the idea of multiculturalism helps perpetuate the myth of a race-neutral society that is not completely accurate,” Beausoleil explained.
Continuing, he avowed: “The concept of diversity within the Canadian impact investment sector usually relates to the diversity of products across asset class, and not diversity of leadership and engagement. The lack of BIPOC—Black, Indigenous, (and) People of Color—representation is rarely discussed and there remains a significant gap in any form of diversity which is rooted in troubling historical narratives.”
According to Victor Beausoleil, who has a rich history in fighting for equity and empowerment for African Canadians, the COVID-19 pandemic and worldwide Black Lives Matters protests in 2020 increased awareness of anti-black racism and have illuminated the systemic racism and inequities faced by Black people across Canada. The experiences of peoples of African descent in Canada, he asserted, “conveys the clear inadequacy of how sectors engage African Canadians and the systemic barriers in public policy and regulatory environments.”
Said he: “All of the aforementioned challenges are exacerbated by the colonial and historical narratives that are still fresh in the hearts and minds of African Canadians. The COVID-19 pandemic, community unrest, barriers to accessing capital and the tumultuous state of the economy threatens some of the most vulnerable and distinct groups in Canada.”
All these, Victor Beausoleil, a co-founder and director of Social Economy Through Social Inclusion (SETSI) averred, disproportionately impact the 1.2 million people that comprise Canada’s diverse Black communities.