young black businesswoman talking to coworker
DiversityTips & Training

Career development resources to support Black students and jobseekers in Canada

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Racism has resulted in centuries of oppression, and in 2020 the injustice pierced mainstream media in a way that sparked a new level of awareness.

The #BlackLivesMatter movement and numerous social media campaigns shone a brighter light on systemic racism, including its impact on the economy. According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), racialized workers were more likely to be unemployed in 2016 (at a rate of 9.2%) than non-racialized workers (7.3%). That gap has grown significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. In July, the unemployment rate for racialized Canadians was 16.2%, compared with 9.3% for white Canadians.

Many companies and organizations are dedicating themselves to being diverse and inclusive employers, and to providing resources to support Black people who face barriers to employment. The following resources can guide career development professionals in supporting Black students and jobseekers in finding meaningful employment and advancing their career.

Note: If you know of a helpful resource that is not listed in this article, we welcome you to share it with us by emailing; it may be added to this article or to another article at a later date.

African-Canadian Career Excellence 2014 Student Survey: The Needs and Challenges of Educated Black Youth in Obtaining Meaningful and Sustainable Employment (CEDEC) [Report]

This report provides the final data analysis and interpretation of the 2014 undergraduate student survey on perceptions of transition to employment in Montreal. As one step in the African-Canadian Career Excellence (ACCE) initiative aimed at countering the migration of Black graduates from Montreal, this summary aims to inform the design of development training for young graduates to facilitate their career launch and advancement in Quebec.

Behind the Numbers (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) [Blog]

This blog provides progressive commentary on issues that affect Canadians. Their blog post “To make Black lives matter, make Black jobs matter too” explores why economic justice for Black communities is important and briefly touches on ideas regarding how to achieve it. Their blog post “Racism in the labour market is costing us all” explains how racial discrimination is hurting Canada’s job market, with a few suggestions on how to address this issue.

Canada’s Black population: Education, labour and resilience (Statistics Canada) [Report]

Released in February 2020, this booklet uses data from the census and the General Social Survey (GSS) to provide a comprehensive portrait of the Black population in Canada, with a strong focus on education, employment, income, family structures and perceptions. The booklet is part of a series of documents released in conjunction with the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent (2015 to 2024) and Black History Month.

Canada’s Colour Coded Income Inequality (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) [Report]

Using 2016 Census data, this report demonstrates economic inequality among racialized and non-racialized Canadians. The 26-page report explores the composition of the racialized population in Canada (15.6% represented by the Black community), differences in labour market status by racialized group, and racialized gaps in income from employment and wealth.

Supporting the careers of individuals who are Black, Indigenous and people of colour (Careering magazine) [Article]

This blog post helps career professionals understand how systemic racism affects the educational pathways and careers of their clients, with the aim being to better position career professionals to help their clients succeed. The blog post also includes links to studies and reports that explore systemic racism in the workforce and the benefits of embracing diversity in companies and organizations.

The Invisible Me – Shaping my Leadership (Charity Village) [Article]

In this article, Stachen Frederick, founder of BrAIDS for AIDS and executive director of a youth charity in Toronto, shares her experience with racism, sexism and ageism in the workplace. She also offers suggestions on how to create an inclusive work environment.

The Working Poor in the Toronto Region: A closer look at the increasing numbers (Metcalf Foundation) [Report]

The Working Poor in the Toronto Region: A closer look at the increasing numbers is the third in a series of reports the Metcalf Foundation has produced to explore factors contributing to the continued rise in working poverty in the region, with some of the highest rates coming from Toronto’s Black communities.

James Clark School of Engineering – Diversity & Inclusion Resources for Career Development [Resource listing]

James Clark School of Engineering provides a list of external job boards that features companies that support diversity and inclusion, including the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of colour) community.

Black Business and Professional Association [Programs, courses and videos]

The BBPA is a charitable organization that aims to advance Canada’s Black communities by offering programs that support business and professional excellence, higher education and economic development. This includes courses and videos, as well as resources for young professionals, youth entrepreneurial development and entrepreneurship. [Job board]

This website features job opportunities for African American jobseekers at companies that support diversity. With more companies working remotely in 2020 and beyond, Canadian jobseekers may also be able to find opportunities. Jobseekers can sign up for job alerts as well as learn about hiring events and top employers. [Magazine and job board]

This award-winning online magazine, funded by the Government of Canada, offers a list of job postings and a free business directory for Black Canadian-owned businesses.

Canada’s Best Diversity Employers [Job search tool]

Canada’s Best Diversity Employers is a competition among Canadian employers that have exceptional workplace diversity and inclusiveness programs, including programs for members of visible minorities. They offer an online tool for finding jobs (at the bottom of the webpage) at some of these companies.

Caribbean African Canadian Social Services [Organization]

Part of CAFCAN, a registered charitable organization dedicated to strengthening the service framework for African Canadian children, youth and families, Caribbean African Canadian Social Services seeks to help clients succeed in their job search. Its services include:

  • Connection to employers and job placement services
  • One-on-one employment counselling and career planning
  • Resume assistance and job search workshops
  • Access to training, apprenticeship and trades
  • Access to their Employment Resource Centre and its free resources
  • On-site job fairs and employer information
CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals [Organization]

This Toronto-based charity offers training programs and an online job board as part of its mission to address economic and social barriers that affect Black youth (ages 14+) who are not in employment, education or training (NEET). The organization works with Black youth, their families, employers and the community in the following areas: career training, sector growth and social enterprise.

Diversity Job Board

This online job board features well-paying job opportunities with companies that support diversity.

The JCA Annual Scholarship Awards Program (JCA)

The Jamaican Canadian Association offers a scholarship program designed to recognize excellence and support access to post-secondary education for students of Caribbean and African heritage who are pursuing studies at an Ontario university or college. Each available scholarship offers at least $500. The next program opens in spring 2021.

NexGen Builders Mentoring Program (Toronto Community Benefits Network)

This mentoring program supports Black, Indigenous and newcomer communities (with priority for women and youth) who are preparing for work or have been recently employed as apprentices or professionals in the construction industry. NexGen Builders also has an online job board.

Onyx Initiative [Program]

Onyx Initiative aspires to be a catalyst for the professional growth and development of Black Canadians as they launch their careers after university/college, helping them through access to placements, mentorship and professional development.

Overcoming Hiring & Workplace Bias: Tools for Career Service Providers (Career Thought Leaders Consortium) [Webinar]

In this recorded webinar (available for purchase), Kymberli Speight and Joel Speight share practical approaches to help career development professionals guide Black clients in:

  • Building and maintaining a network to uncover opportunities
  • Overcoming biases in the hiring process, from the application or resume to the interview
  • Adjusting mindset to feel empowered in their search and to achieve success once hired
  • Standing out and building their social capital to position themselves for promotion
York University Career Centre – Resources for Black Students

In support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, York University’s Career Centre has put together a comprehensive list of resources for Black students, including a list of external job boards, professional associations and organizations, and credible equity and anti-racism education providers. The Career Centre also offers a wide range of worksheets, quizzes and other online resources to assist with finding a job (such as tips for writing a resume or cover letter, and preparing for an interview) and exploring career options.

York’s resources include a list of industry-specific associations supporting Black professionals, including: 

Want the best of CareerWise delivered to your inbox each week? Subscribe to our popular CareerWise Weekly newsletter to receive top news and views in career development every Tuesday.

Marisa Baratta is a writer and editor who lives in Ontario with her husband and their children. She loves writing, especially fiction that touches your heart, opens your mind, makes you laugh and inspires positive change. Her shelves are lined with short stories, poems and chapter books she wrote since she was five. She can often be found writing, reading, cooking, walking near trees or spending time with her loved ones.
follow me
Marisa Baratta is a writer and editor who lives in Ontario with her husband and their children. She loves writing, especially fiction that touches your heart, opens your mind, makes you laugh and inspires positive change. Her shelves are lined with short stories, poems and chapter books she wrote since she was five. She can often be found writing, reading, cooking, walking near trees or spending time with her loved ones.
follow me
Latest Posts
  • Vector graphic showing web of connected people
  • older woman looking stressed sitting at kitchen table
  • Manager with safety helmet holding digital tablet in warehouse
  • Crosswalk painted orange with white feathers for Truth and Reconciliation