The Black community in Ottawa is characterized by a rich tapestry of various backgrounds and experiences. Some members of this community have deep-rooted Canadian ancestry, while others have immigrated more recently. Regardless of their origins, they have all played significant roles in shaping the city’s growth, enhancing its cultural diversity, and driving its development

This report provides an introductory portrait of the Black population in Ottawa, through a review of data collected by the Statistics Canada 2021 census of population (the most current population statistics available). The report is an update of the Summary Portrait of Ottawa’s Black Community in Comparison with the General Population based on the 2016 census.

Inequity and Us: Highlighting Key Findings from the Data

Previous Report (based on 2016 census)

The following is a summary of data comparing the Black community to the general population of Ottawa, as well as a video presentation on the data.  The data was prepared by the Social Planning Council of Ottawa.  The information highlights the significant inequity experienced by the Black community, and is being provided to inform policy discussions on addressing anti-black racism.

You can also download the powerpoint slides here.

What we see and hear is not normal. The exponential inequity that black and racialized communities face – due to the layering of so many barriers – is not normal. To avoid being recorded in history books as accomplices to continuing the legacy of systemic racism and oppression, we must challenge what we consider normal. What looks normal is not always normal. Was public school segregation in Ontario and Nova Scotia not normal and legal well into the 20th Century? Were black students not denied admission to Queens University Medical Program until 1965 and did the ban on black students not last on the books, as policy, until 2018?

In this world, there is plenty for all of us. Let’s not allow our greed and selfishness to blind us to the inequities and unfairness in our age. The less we think about the inequity, the more our tolerance for it grows. After a while, we think the unfairness and inequity of our age are normal. Awareness of the inequity in our age is the key. Few of us will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. We can shape history through our countless, diverse acts of courage and belief. Each time anyone of us stands up for equity and fairness, we send forth a tiny ripple of hope, and collectively those ripples build a current which can sweep down the systemic barriers that are keeping the legacy of racism and injustice alive.


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External Resources related to fighting Anti-Black Racism in Ottawa

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By the numbers

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Personal Experiences

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