My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Are so-called 'visible minorities' being discriminated in employment?

I really hate that term 'visible minority'....a terrific op-ed in the Financial Post today on whether there is discrimination in the earnings of minorities.
The incomes of Canadians are significantly affected by a number of factors, including education and training, area of residence and length of labour-market service. Age is critical to any understanding of earnings. This should come as no surprise to the congress, whose members regularly insist on seniority in securing access to higher-paid positions. Public-sector unions have been assiduous in establishing generous and lengthy salary ladders, scaled only by dint of long service. Labour-market data bear eloquent witness to the influence of age on earnings. Why, then, does the congress's research not include age as a central variable in examining earnings?

The average annual income of those aged 15-24, in employment in 2000, according to Statistics Canada data, was just over $10,000. Workers in the 25-34 group averaged close to $30,000 and those in the 45-54 group more than $41,000. These are far larger differences than those attributed to differences in education. The congress reports that Canadian-born "men of colour" earned an average of 34% less than other Canadians -- a result, we are to believe, of discrimination. Canadian-born visible minorities not only have an average hourly wage lower than their Canadian counterparts, but also significantly lower than foreign-born "men of colour."

The relevance of age to the alleged discrimination experienced by Canadian-born visible minorities is obvious. The group is significantly younger than the population as a whole. Census data indicate that the proportion of visible minorities in the under-25 population was some 50% higher than in the 45-64 year old group. In other words, the penalty experienced by visible-minority workers may be easily accounted for not by race but age. This is easily tested. Other researchers, whose work remains unacknowledged by the congress, have shown that the earnings of Canadian-born visible minorities, when relevant labour-market characteristics are included, are similar to those of other Canadians.
Before charging racism, sexism...or any other 'ism', we need to look at all the variables sensibly. We see the same ridiculous charges from the feminist movement, who rarely like to look at experience as a variable that can explain differences in earnings.


Blogger jw said...

Statistics ... It seems a pity that so few people understand statistical use.

It's unlikely that racism or anti-female sexism make any measurable difference in the pay rate of that group. There's simply been too much effort to remove discrimination as a factor in income differences: There is a measurable discrimination against males factor in 60 or so of the 25,000 some odd job classifications.

5:12 AM  

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