Discrimination in the Housing and Financial Sectors | An Expert Disagreement

The topic was ‘Discrimination in the Housing and Financial Sectors and the moderator was Mary Thomas. The panellists were Mr Ben Adekunle, an estate agent and a mortgage broker with Remax.  Alex Amaglo, a community elder and businessman joined the panel to share community experience with the banks.  Mr Amaglo had contacted the Show with concerns that the housing and financial sectors were partial and biased against black and diverse people.

We contacted RBC, CIBC and TD Bank but the managers politely declined to take part in our panel.

What is housing discrimination?

Housing discrimination consists of any behaviour, practice or policy in the public or private sectors that directly or indirectly, or systematically causes harm through inequitable access to or use and enjoyment of housing by members of historically disadvantaged groups. Canadian law does prohibit both direct discrimination and “adverse effect discrimination”.

A report published in 2002 titled Housing Discrimination in Canada: What Do We Know About it? suggests that landlords do look at ethno-racial groups and make judgments about whether or not they want to rent to them. Alex Amaglo, a landlord had rented to a diverse family and this family had thrashed his home. So one can understand if he does not want to rent to a certain group of people.

Broadly speaking, one can understand landlords and their fears when they choose not to rent. The truth is most people do not like to be stereotyped.  The report found that in the 1950s and 1960s, racial discrimination was often blatant, today racial discrimination in housing is practised more subtly. You may not even know you have been discriminated against.

The highest levels of discrimination are experienced by blacks, followed by South Asians, according to this Report by Sylvia Novac, Joe Darden, David Hulchanski and Ann-Marie Seguin. The fact that the men we invited had not experienced housing discrimination does not mean this type of discrimination does not exist in Edmonton.

 The verdict is out. We had an expert disagreement. This is okay. Have a listen to what they had to say. What do you think?

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