Black people in Canada have diverse backgrounds and experiences. While some can trace their roots in Canada for many generations, others have immigrated in recent decades. They have contributed in many ways to the growth, diversity and development of Canada. Over 20 years, the black population of Canada has doubled in size, going from 573 860 persons in 1996 to 1 198 540 persons in 2016 (Statistics Canada, 2019)
The first recorded Black person to set foot on the land now known as Canada was a free man named Mathieu da Costa. Travelling with navigator Samuel de Champlain, de Costa arrived in Nova Scotia sometime between 1603 and 1608 as a translator for the French explorer Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Monts. Long after slavery, in the early twentieth century, the Canadian government had an unofficial policy of restricting immigration by black people. The huge influx of immigrants from Europe and the United States in the period before World War One included few black people, as most immigrants were coming from Eastern and Southern Europe. Canada maintained its restrictions of immigration until 1962, when racial rules were eliminated from the immigration laws.
Black Canadian immigrants settled in provinces matching the language of their home countries. In 2001, 90% of Canadians of Haitian origin lived in Quebec, while 85% of Canadians of Jamaican backgrounds lived in Ontario. Immigrants from the West Indies almost always settled in the cities, and the Canadian historian James Walker called the black Canadian community one of the “most urbanized of all Canada’s ethnic groups”
In 2016, 94.3% of Black people lived in Canada’s metropolitan areas, compared with 71.2% of the country’s total population. Nearly 80% of Black people in Ontario reported English as their mother tongue, and close to 6% reported French. Ontario was home to slightly more than half (52.4%) of the total Black population in Canada. The number of visible minorities in Durham Region, Canada has grown almost 4% from 2006 to 2011. There is a greater percentage of visible minorities in Ontario than in Durham and significantly more in the GTA (Durham Region Health Department, 2019).
In Ontario, Black populations still experience issues regarding systemic racism and overrepresentation in the child welfare and criminal justice system. Government, community organizations and individuals can work together address concerns as they arise. People and partnerships can advance well-being and foster change while working towards equity (One vision one voice, 2016).
The information provided in this document was gathered through an online scan of available services in Durham Region and surrounding areas. This document is meant to help as a guide black children, youth and their families to appropriate services within their region.
Online Resources for Black Individuals
|Name of Organization||Contact Information||Services Available|
|Hey! Black Girl||https://heybgirl.com||Hey! Black girl is a division of magnolia Mental health that focusses on the emotional, mental and physical health of black women. Hey! black girl features merchandise, books, apparel and journals.|
|Immigration Services||Website||Phone Number||Address:||Services Offered:|
|Durham Immigration Portal||https://www.durhamimmigration.ca/en/index.aspx||No number provided.||605, Rossland Rd. E. P. O. box 6A3 Whitby, ON L1N 6A3||The LDIPC works with community stakeholders to create welcoming communities across Durham Region. Priorities for this work are set out in the Durham Diversity and Immigration Community Plan.|
|Welcome Centre Immigrant Services||http://www.welcomecentre.ca/||289.482. 1037 or 1.877.76. 1155||458 Fairall Street, Unit 5|
Ajax, ON L1S 1R6
|The Welcome Centre service delivery model is based on a holistic, flexible approach that provides a broad range of cross-sector services and expertise to immigrants/newcomers under one roof. Clients and service users are assisted with gathering information and resources and are supported in a welcoming, culturally-sensitive way.|
Mental Health Resources
|Mental Health Services:||Website:||Phone number:||Address:||Services Offered:|
|Canadian Mental Health Association: Durham Branch||https://cmhadurham.ca/||1.844.436.8760||60 Bond Street West|
Oshawa, ON L1G 1A5
|Offering community connection services, assistance with housing and wellness services and a range of other services within the Durham Region|
|Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences||https://www.ontarioshores.ca/||905.430.4055||700 Gordon Street|
|Ontario Shores is a public teaching hospital providing a range of specialized assessment and treatment services to those living with complex and serious mental illness.|
|Community Care Durham||http://communitycaredurham.on.ca/||905.985.0150 Or|
|Various locations in: Ajax-Pickering, Brock, Clarington, Oshawa-Whitby, Scugog and Uxbridge||Provides help to adults with needs related to aging, physical and/or mental health.|
|Alzheimer Society of Durham Region||https://alzheimer.ca/en/durham||905.576.2567||1600 Stellar Drive., Suite 202|
Whitby, ON, L1N 9B2
|We offer support, information and education to residents of Durham Region living with mild cognitive impairment or dementia or supporting someone living with dementia.|
|Addiction Services:||Website:||Phone number:||Address:||Services Offered:|
|Pinewood Centre of Lakeridge Health||https://www.lakeridgehealth.on.ca/en/ourservices/Withdrawal-Management.asp||24 Hour: 905.721.4747 ext. 1 Or 1.888.881.8878.||300 Centre St S, Oshawa, ON L1H 4B2||Helping people manage their withdrawal from substance use is key to their success. We offer a number of services to help including Residential Withdrawal Management Services (RWMS), Community Withdrawal Management Services (CWMS), and Walk-in Support.|
|Alcoholics Anonymous in Durham Region||https://www.aaoshawa.org/||24 hour: 905.728.1020||200 Thornton Rd N, Oshawa ON, L1J 6T8||Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men|
and women who share their experience,
strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.
|Central Lake Ontario Area of Narcotics Anonymous.||https://www.cloana.org/||1-888.811.3887||Local meeting addresses: https://www.cloana.org/meetings/||Narcotics Anonymous is a non-profit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. We are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean. There is only one requirement for membership: the desire to stop using.|
|Renascent Centre||https://renascent.ca/||1.844.244.4583||Head office: 38 Isabella Street|
|We offer addiction support programs for individuals, families, workplaces, and communities affected by substance use disorders.|
Further Resources on Black Mental Health and Cultural Services
Learn More about Private and Public Services
Government of Ontario. (2017). A Better Way Forward: Ontario’s 3-Year Anti-Racism
Durham Region Health Department. (2019). Population at a glance. Ontario ministry of health
Statistics Canada. (2019). Durham, RM [Census division], Ontario and Ontario One Vision One Voice. (2016). Changing the Ontario child welfare system to better serve African Canadians
Completed by: Mitra, MSW Student