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Diversity in Canada’s Arts Labour Force

January 11, 200611 January 2006

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This report analyzes 2001 census data concerning Aboriginal, visible minority and immigrant Canadians who worked more hours in an arts occupation than any other occupation.

In the 2001 census, 3,100 Aboriginal people reported an artistic occupation. Aboriginal artists represent 2.4% of all artists, essentially the same percentage as Aboriginal workers in the overall labour force (2.5%). Average earnings for Aboriginal artists are only $16,900, 28% less than other artists, who have relatively low earnings compared to other labour force workers.

The questions asked of Aboriginal respondents changed between 1991 and 2001. Because of this, data on the Aboriginal labour force from the 1991 census is not considered comparable to 2001 census data.

Visible minorities accounted for 11,700 artists or 8.9% of the 130,700 artists in in 2001. This is less than the percentage of visible minority workers in the overall labour force (12.5%). There were 74% more visible minority artists in 2001 than in 1991. Average earnings for visible minority artists are $20,800, 11% less than other artists.

There were 26,400 immigrant artists in in 2001, an increase of 31% from 1991. The 26,400 immigrant artists represent 20% of all Canadian artists – equal to immigrant workers’ share of the overall labour force. Average earnings for immigrant artists are $23,200, only slightly lower than the average earnings of all artists ($23,500).

Canada’s three largest Census Metropolitan Areas (Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver) account for three-quarters of all visible minority and immigrant artists. Contrary to visible minority and immigrant artists, a large majority of Aboriginal artists reside outside of ’s 27 Census Metropolitan Areas.

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