Impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians - Experiences of Discrimination

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, it is necessary to gather data to inform the public and decision makers.

There is currently no crowdsource data collection taking place.

We would also like to know how COVID-19 pandemic has impacted your confidence and trust in various institutions, the general public, and your neighbours. Data will help determine if discrimination during the pandemic has disproportionally impacted certain groups more than others.

If the subject of this data collection is not what you expected, it may be because we have just changed the questionnaire. Please visit this page regularly to complete the various questionnaires.

Your participation is important!

This information will be used by government organizations such as the Public Health Agency of Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada, and other types of organizations, to evaluate the delivery of health and social services and economic support, and to ensure best practices are adopted when reopening workplaces and public spaces. Your information may also be used by Statistics Canada for other statistical and research purposes.

Collection period:
From August 4 to August 24, 2020
Collection method:
Electronic questionnaire
  • Block Information Confidentiality


    Data are collected under the authority of the Statistics Act, Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, Chapter S-19. Your information will be kept strictly confidential. Information from partially completed or unsaved questionnaires may also be retained and used.

  • Block Information on Data sharing agreements and record linkage

    Record linkage

    To enhance the data from this data collection and reduce response burden, Statistics Canada may combine the information you provide with data from other surveys or administrative sources.

  • Block Information on Topics covered in the survey

    Topics covered

    Questions will cover

    • experiences of discrimination based on race, sex, gender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability and language
    • impacts of COVID-19 on experiences of discrimination and on trust in various institutions, the general public and neighbours.
  • Block Information on Questions related to this data collection

    Questions related to this data collection

    Who can participate in the current crowdsource: Impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians– Experiences of Discrimination?

    Anybody living in Canada can complete the electronic questionnaire. Caregivers may also respond on behalf of someone who cannot participate on their own, including their children.

    What type of information are you collecting?

    The current questionnaire will ask people if they have experienced discrimination based on their sex, ethnicity or culture, race or colour, physical appearance, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, a physical or mental disability, language, or for some other reason, in the two years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, and since the beginning of the pandemic. We will also ask people if the pandemic has impacted their trust in various institutions, the general public, and their neighbours, and if they have been able to access to health care services.

    What will the information be used for?

    Data will help determine if there is a difference in how people experienced discrimination before the pandemic, and during the pandemic, and whether some groups have been impacted more than others. This information will be used by government, and other types of organizations, to evaluate the delivery of health and social services and economic support, and to ensure best practices are adopted when reopening workplaces and public spaces.

    What is your definition of "discrimination"?

    Discrimination means treating a person or a group unfairly because of who they are, or because they possess certain characteristics. The questionnaire asks if people have experienced discrimination because of their race, sex, gender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability or language, or for any other reason.

    What do you mean by "ethnic origin"?

    The questions pertaining to ethnic origin are asked as part of the sociodemographic questions near the end of the questionnaire. This information is collected in accordance with the Employment Equity Act and its Regulations and Guidelines to support programs that promote equal opportunity for everyone to share in the social, cultural, and economic life of Canada.

    Ethnic or cultural origin refers to the ethnic or cultural group(s) of a person's ancestors, including ancestors from both sides of their family. An ancestor is someone from whom a person is descended and is usually more distant than a grandparent. Ethnic or cultural ancestry refers to a person's "roots" or cultural background and should not be confused with citizenship or nationality.

    Why do you ask about visible minorities and why are you using these (outdated) terms?

    The visible minority categories were first defined by the Employment Equity Act for federal employment equity purposes, and the same terminology is still being used in order to maintain historical comparability with survey data that have been collected over many years.

    The categories refer to "persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour".

    The visible minority variable includes the following classifications: South Asian, Chinese, Black, Filipino, Latin American, Arab, Southeast Asian, West Asian, Korean, Japanese, Visible minority, n.i.e. (n.i.e. meaning "not included elsewhere"), Multiple visible minorities and Not a visible minority.

    Why are you asking about "sex" and "gender"?

    Many of Statistics Canada's social surveys ask respondents to identify their sex, which refers to sex at birth. Statistics Canada also collects data on gender – either instead of, or in addition to, data on sex at birth. In doing so, we are considering that the concept of sex refers to biological attributes, while gender is a socially constructed concept. To be respectful of how people choose to identify themselves, while still collecting meaningful data that has comparability to historical data, we are working towards an appropriate way of asking sex and gender questions on our surveys.

    Statistics Canada consulted with representatives from transgender organizations and academic experts to develop inclusive variables that respect the gender identity and expression of all Canadians. These new variables on sex and gender are based on a non-binary gender spectrum that covers the many gender identities and gender expressions of Canadians, including cisgender and transgender identities.

    What do you mean by a physical or mental disability?

    A person who has a long-term or recurring impairment, such as vision, hearing, mobility, flexibility, dexterity, pain, learning, developmental, memory or mental health-related impairments that limit their daily activities inside or outside the home such as at school, work, or in the community in general. Caregivers may respond on behalf of someone who cannot participate on their own due to a disability, including their children.

    Is this survey accessible?

    We are continuing to work towards improving accessibility for everyone. For survey participation, our Collection Portal follows Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), and individuals who are blind and visually impaired can access our content using standard screen reader software. People who are deaf or hard of hearing can obtain additional support through our TTY line: 1-866-753-7083.

    What is meant by "sense of belonging"?

    To try and measure more about Canadians' level of identification, attachment and belonging to national, ethnic, geographic and cultural groups. This survey asks respondents to describe, on a scale from very strong to very weak, their sense of belonging to Canada, their local community, town, province, ethnic or cultural group, as well as people who speak the same language. Immigrants are also asked to describe their sense of belonging to their country of origin.

    Why aren't you asking about people observing incidents of discrimination, even if they themselves are not the target of the discrimination?

    The questionnaire for this crowdsource data collection is not exhaustive, and we understand that it cannot cover the entirety of the situation, but we hope it will provide a snapshot for the time being. For this crowdsource, we require the perspective of the person experiencing the discrimination. Perceptions of observed discrimination or victimization typically require more in depth survey design, and a more complex questionnaire.

    How can people have their voices heard if they aren't able to complete the questionnaire on their own? (Proxy permitted)

    Caregivers may respond on behalf of someone who cannot participate on their own, including their children.

    Can I answer the questions by phone?

    No. To conduct this data collection series as quickly as possible, we are only collecting information via online questionnaires.

    How long does it take to complete the questionnaire?

    It will take approximately 5 to 10 minutes to complete the questionnaire.

    When will the data be available?

    The data will be released on our website by the end of August.

  • For more information about this survey (questionnaires, definitions, data sources and methods used): survey number 5323
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