The State of Black and Indigenous Youth in Ontario


The State of Black and Indigenous Youth in Ontario

7 months ago 7 months ago Published by
This report was published by Laidlaw Foundation.


Laidlaw Foundation’s primary goal in creating this report was to gather the stories of Black and Indigenous youth to raise awareness about the challenges and barriers they currently face, the actions that can be taken to overcome them, and, importantly, to give young people a platform on which to be heard so we can better address their needs through future programming, advocacy, and community partnerships.

To that end, in 2021, Laidlaw commissioned this project to INDsight Consulting, who then formed a Youth Advisory Committee to better understand the experiences of Black and Indigenous youth in three systems that have historically both overrepresented and underserved them: justice, child welfare, and education. However, in conversations with the participants, we learned that they face inequity in many more aspects of their lives, including but not limited to their experiences with healthcare, employment, and housing. As with the three aforementioned systems, it quickly became clear to us that participants’ continued experiences of
inequity across all areas of society also stem from the combined actions of over-policing and under-servicing — actions that are deeply rooted in ongoing racial discrimination towards Black and Indigenous populations.

In creating this report, INDsight hosted 11 focus groups which interviewed 103 Black and Indigenous youth from Ottawa, Toronto, and Hamilton. The focus groups discussed the experiences of these diverse youth and highlighted many of the challenges they face today. Of the 103 total participants, 27 (26.2%) were from Ottawa, and the remaining 76 (73.7%) were from Hamilton and Toronto.

While it is important to acknowledge the voices of our survey’s participants, we must also be cognizant that the life experiences of the Black and Indigenous youth who were interviewed cannot and do not reflect the experiences of all Black and Indigenous youth in Ontario, or even in all urban centres. This report does not intend to speak for those who were not interviewed — it can only create, with broad strokes, an idea of the general state of things for Black and Indigenous youth as they are today.

What it highlights is a broken system that fails young people time and time again.

Laidlaw Foundation. (2023). The State of Black and Indigenous Youth of Ontario: An Examination of the Experiences and Impacts of Policing on Black, Indigenous and Racialized Youth.

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