60% of Indigenous workers feel emotionally unsafe on the job: Catalyst survey

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TORONTO — A new report shows about 52 per cent of Indigenous people prepare themselves to regularly face racial biases while on the job and about 60 per cent report feeling emotionally unsafe at work.

The study from equity organization Catalyst Canada surveyed 86 Indigenous workers in Canada in positions as senior as the C-Suite and as junior as non-management roles.

It found the majority experience an “emotional tax,” a feeling of being different from peers at work because of gender, race or ethnicity, which can affect a person’s well-being and ability to thrive.

Catalyst says 67 per cent of the women and 38 per cent of men it surveyed reported that they feel the need to be “on guard” at work because their odds of facing biases or discrimination are high.

The survey says only four in 10 Indigenous workers feel safe enough in the workplace to make mistakes and take risks without being penalized.

Indigenous Peoples comprise 4.9 per cent of the total Canadian population, but Catalyst says the survey results indicate more needs to be done to help them feel safe at work.