Experiences of Discrimination in and Around Guelph-Wellington

Posted on Monday, June 26th, 2023

Written by Aida Mortazavi

Understanding the experiences of minority individuals in the community can be the first step toward building more diverse and inclusive systems locally. For this reason, The Research Shop partnered with the Grey Bruce Local Immigration Partnership (GBLIP), the Guelph-Wellington Local Immigration Partnership (GWLIP), and the Huron County Immigration Partnership to publish three reports on the experiences of discrimination of racial minorities, immigrants, and Indigenous residents in these areas. These studies build upon a randomized survey and a qualitative pilot project conducted by the GWLIP that investigated experiences of discrimination in 2021.

In-depth interviews were conducted in each region, with 13 individuals in Grey and Bruce County, 23 in Guelph and Wellington, and 4 in Huron County. Across all three reports, a high number of respondents reported experiencing discrimination in various forms, ranging from subtle to overt encounters. These experiences often led to negative impacts, including impacts on mental health and well-being (especially in relation to depression) and feelings of unsafety, anger, and self-blame.

“There are a lot of comments targeted towards me being Arab. Comments about being a terrorist, being violent. These comments come from strangers mostly. You want to blend in and attend the events and have a good time and someone always seems to intrude on that with their comment. Some people prefer to let it go and not address it. But sometimes I don’t want to let it go,” said an interview participant from Guelph-Wellington.

Interview participants also shared their personal recommendations to decrease discrimination in their communities. Recommendations centred on increasing education and awareness, increasing representation in the community, and increasing support services for individuals facing discrimination, particularly in schools and the workplace.

“More newcomers and immigrants coming in, more people from other backgrounds; people will learn more about other cultures. Have more international students – hopefully they stay after their studies,” said an interview participant from Grey and Bruce County.

Across all three studies, there was disproportionate representation from target groups, particularly Indigenous residents, indicating a need for further research on how to better reach these populations.

Although Canada is a culturally diverse country, the findings of these reports suggest that discrimination and racism are still prevalent; therefore, creating a more welcoming and inclusive community is necessary to support the well-being of racial minorities and immigrants living here.

Read each report here:

Experiences of Discrimination in Grey and Bruce Counties

Experiences of Discrimination in the City of Guelph and the County of Wellington

Snapshot of Discrimination in Huron County

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