Subtle slights or insults include being treated as less smart than white people. After years of working in the Toronto Bay Street, Karlyn Percil burnt out – not of workload demand, but on the subtle racial slights from colleagues who eventually take their emotional toll.

Percil, originally from St Lucia, said microaggressions this comes in the form of derogatory comments about her accent, or an expression of surprise that she was smart and articulate, and presented herself well.

“I had a panic attack at work. I cried myself to sleep,” said Percil, who eventually left the investment banking job in 2017. “It takes a toll on you.”

And it is something that many Canadian natural colors. Indeed, a new study, Race Relations In Canada in 2019, conducted by the Environics Institute for Survey Research, has found that one in five Canadians suffers discrimination on a regular basis or from time to time.

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While Canada surveyed said that a number of these incidents occurred “in the street,” the same amount, nearly 40 percent said they experienced racial discrimination in the workplace.

Subtle slights or insults

Some of which, according to the study, taking the form of everyday experience involves subtle slights or insults, such as being treated as smart as or mistaken for someone who serves others.

Percil, who is a senior project manager in international banking, said there were times when it was assumed he was in a meeting to take minutes.

Meanwhile, other colleagues, he said, want to get rid of their accent and taking classes to try to “learn to speak like everyone else.”

He also self-conscious about deemed too hard, and would be reluctant to share their ideas with passion “for fear of being called ‘angry black woman.’

“It’s exhausting … anxiety sets in. Fear of saying the wrong thing. You find yourself talking about, you find yourself hold,” said Percil.

‘It’s a constant battle’

Even today, as a motivational speaker and founder SisterTalk Group, a network aimed at assisting women of color, Percil said he experienced a similar prejudice. For example, when she walked into a room to speak at an event, organizers rarely consider him the keynote speaker.

“It is a constant battle that we must go through. It’s not just once.”


A Toronto-based consultancy that provides diversity and unconscious bias training for police and teachers, said the terrible insult clearer that reduces workplace.

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“The blatant racist and blatantly bigoted really, really hard to find. I do not even think very much present in the context of many organizations,” he said.

“I think the things that happen in the workplace is actually a more subtle manner.”

It’s not uncommon for women and people of color to experience being cut off and were not heard when they were in the meeting, said Choudhury. Also, the ideas expressed by them and by indigenous people only get validated when they are mentioned by the white man, he said.

“Micro is one of those things that if you are not in the body that experienced it, you will not notice it.”

Survey bill itself as the first of its kind in Canada to look at race relations at the level of the national population and to examine the experiences, attitudes, and perceptions of Canada. It was conducted online between 17 April and May 6 with a sample of 3,111 Canadian 18 and over.

Keith Neuman, the principal investigator, said one unexpected result is that a significant proportion of Canada in all racial groups acknowledge that racism is a reality in Canada.

“A significant proportion of white respondents said that too. I think it’s important, perhaps a little surprising, because sometimes there is the idea that non-racial Canadians do not think there is a problem.”

Not surprised

Lilian Ma, executive director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, in partnership with Environics for the study, said he was not surprised by the results.

They are “what we have heard all along from racialized groups, talk about experiencing racism,” he said.


The survey was also important, he said because asking people about their experiences and perceptions of racism.

“And the results are consistent,” he said. “It is very comforting in the sense that people are telling the truth and not just, ‘Oh, they’re just whiners.’ So it confirms that racism is a reality in Canada. ”

However, the survey also found optimism. For example, six in 10 say they are very (14 percent) or somewhat (46 percent) are optimistic that everyone racialized in Canada will be treated with the same respect as other people, in their lives.

“The fact that you are aware that there are a problem and the fact that you’re optimistic that we can improve it says a lot,” said Ma.

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