Canadian Association for Supported Employment

Image featuring a colourful background made up of vibrant blue, orange, and red colours with floral detailing and two prominent dark-skinned faces at the forefront.

Black History Month by the Numbers – Employment and Disability

In 2021, Canada’s Black population reached 1.5 million, accounting for 4.3% of the total population and 16.1% of the racialized population. The Black population in Canada continues to grow and is expected to reach more than 3 million by 2041. 

Canada’s Black Population is Diverse

Almost 41% of the Black population in Canada is Canadian born. Of those born outside of Canada:

  • 55.3% were born in countries in Africa, and 
  • 35.6% in the Caribbean and Bermuda. 

The Black population in Canada identifies with more than 300 ethnic or cultural origins.

In 2017, about 136,600 Black persons experienced disability, accounting for 15.8% of the Black population over 15 years old. 

About one-third (32.4%) of the Black population aged 25 to 64 holds a bachelor’s degree or higher, which is comparable to the total Canadian working-age population (32.9%).

Employment and Earnings Inequality

From October to December 2023, the employment rate of the Black population in Canada aged 25 to 54 (core age) was 78.9%, a decrease from December 2022 (80.6%).

Higher Unemployment Rate

Core-aged Black men had a higher unemployment rate (9.2%) than core-aged Black women 7.8%. These rates were significantly higher compared to the core-aged total Canadian population (men 4.8% and women 4.2%).

Lower Median Income

In 2020, the median income of Black individuals with a bachelor’s degree or higher was $50,000, compared to $70,000 for the non-racialized population.

Black Men (81.4%) and Black Women (76.4%) 

had lower employment rates than the averages for all Canadian men (87.7%) and women (81.8%).

The Canadian-born Black population work in lower-level occupations relative to their education and are less likely to have full time, full year work, compared to the non-racialized third-generation or more population.

A medium-skinned young woman holding a fidget toy sits in an office during a meeting with her mentor who is medium-skinned and who is typing on a laptop.

Photo Credit: Disability:IN

“I think being around people who are Black, specifically as a Black woman, is huge. And I don’t see that, much. I’m mainly with white people all the time. And so, it made a difference culturally. 

I didn’t have to explain my Blackness to her [her manager who was also a Black woman]. She understood, so now I could just be myself… But with her, she actually would say to me, if you’re not doing okay, it’s okay. If you miss a class reschedule, it’s okay. She’s asking me, how do I help you succeed? 

No one’s ever asked me that in other workplaces, How do I help you succeed?’ It’s always me like, ‘How can I help?’ So you can see me.”

BIPOC-D Job Seeker who participated in CASE’s Diversity Works research project

Business Ownership

The share of Black business owners increased since 2005 for both women and men, signalling a growing trend in Black business ownership in Canada.


About 66,880 Black Canadian business owners 

(2.1% of all business owners)


StatCan. Black History Month 2024… by the numbers. Accessed February 16, 2024.