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The Black Experience Project in the Greater Toronto Area: "No research about us without us"


The Black Experience Project in the GTA


Making up 7% of the region's population and representing the highest proportion of Blacks among any census metropolitan area, and more than half of Canada's total Black population, the Black community of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has the potential to greatly influence the socio-economic competiveness of the entire GTA and beyond. Its contributions to the continued growth and success of the region cannot be understood, however, without recognizing and examining the lived experience of Black community members to identify systemic barriers that have thus far prevented them from reaching their economic potential.

The Environics Institute, in partnership with Ryerson's Diversity Institute, the United Way Toronto, the Atkinson Charitable Foundation, and the YMCA of Greater Toronto aim to undertake a ground-breaking research study focusing on the Black community in the GTA. This study will be founded on the premise of, as one participant put it, "No research about us without us". The study will be driven by and with the Black community of the GTA, effectively harnessing community individuals and resources, and providing a unique opportunity for them to articulate their own positive narratives and hopeful scenarios to broader society.


The project takes a 3-step approach to working with the GTA’s Black community:

Phase 1 – Community Engagement
This phase is nearing completion and has entailed extensive outreach into the Black community, including 17 group discussion sessions with "Trailblazer" community leaders and individuals from many parts of the GTA.

Phase 2 – Research Design, Implementation, and Analysis
The rich information captured from Phase 1 of the project will guide the research design of Phase 2 of the project consisting of an in depth survey of 1,000-3,000 Black individuals in the GTA community.

Phase 3 – Post-study Dissemination and Engagement
Following the completion of the research, the findings will be broadly publicized, and sessions/events will be organized to actively engage the Black community and policy makers to consider implications and next steps. Collaborating partners and other supporters-at-large will have access to the study and its insights to help shape future plans and goals.


The results of the Black Experience Project are intended to provide valuable insight and direction when identifying policies and other initiatives that will contribute to the health and vibrancy of the Black community, which will in turn increase the social and economic capital of Blacks in the GTA who have been steadily contributing to the region.



Black Experience Project Phase I Report (2014)
The Black Experience Project Phase 1 Report (2014)

Diversity Institute


Ted Rogers School of Management's Diversity Institute at Ryerson University is located at 415 Yonge Street, Suite 701, Toronto, ON, M5B 2E7.

Mailing Address:
Diversity Institute
Ted Rogers School of Management
Ryerson University
350 Victoria Street
Toronto, Ontario, M5B 2K3


Phone: 416-979-5000 ext. 7268

Media Contact:
Kathleen Powderley 416-803-5597


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