The Black Experience in the Greater Toronto Area

The Environics Institute, in partnership with Ryerson's Diversity Institute, the United Way of Greater Toronto, and the YMCA of Greater Toronto, is launching a groundbreaking research study focusing on the Black community in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).


The purpose of this study is to conduct seminal research to better understand the lived experiences of individuals within this community, and the factors leading to their success and challenges. The results are intended to provide valuable insight and direction in identifying policies and other initiatives that will contribute to the health and vibrancy of the Black community, and by doing so, the health and vibrancy of the entire GTA community and beyond. 

The project is also being supported by a number of other leading organizations as Collaborating Partners, including the African Canadian Development Council, the Black Artists Network Dialogue, the Jamaica Canadian Association, the Region of Peel, Redemption and Reintegration Services, the City of Toronto, Tropicana Community Services and Black Artists Network Dialogue (BAND).

The project is founded on evidence demonstrating that survey research can serve as a powerful vehicle to give voice to individuals and groups who are not normally heard from. Such research offers a unique opportunity to articulate positive narratives and hopeful scenarios for the future that might not otherwise be properly heard. These stories will encourage personal initiative, stronger policies, and investment of public, private, and philanthropic resources.

Project results are expected to provide a focal point for the Black community to better harness its assets and expand its successes broadly throughout the entire community. It will help the community build on strategies to move forward, and it will also help the broader community (e.g., community leaders, decision-makers, public) understand and appreciate the vibrancy of the Black community within their vicinity.

The project includes three phases:

• Phase 1: Community engagement: to proactively engage the Black community to ensure the research focuses on issues of greatest relevance, and contributes to capacity building. This phase has been completed and final report is now available for download here.

• Phase 2: Research design and execution to conduct an in-depth survey with a representative sample of individuals within the GTA Black community; and

• Phase 3: Post-study dissemination and public engagement: to broadly publicize the research findings and actively engage policy-makers and the Black community around implications and next steps.


Staff Announcements

The BEP is pleased to announce two new members of the project team:. 

Suelyn Knight joins as the Project Manager Phase 2 Research. Suelyn’s primary responsibility will be to organize and coordinate the survey administration, including recruitment and supervision of the community youth we will be hiring to conduct the in-person interviews. Suelyn comes with extensive experience in project management and community development experience, most recently as a Community Outreach Coordinator at United Way Peel Region. She can be reached at

Mikayla Allen joins as a Research Intern for a 12 week placement, and will be assisting both the Project Team and the Research Team. Mikayla is completing her Research Analyst post-graduate program at Humber College, and has an undergraduate degree in communication studies and linguistic cognitive science. Although she considers market research to be important for a well-rounded career, her interests are primarily focused on social issues and policy research. She can be reached at







The Black Experience Project Phase 2 research is receiving generous support from TD Bank Group and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Our primary media partner is CBC Toronto

To learn more about the Black Experience Project, contact Keith Neuman