The Black Experience in the Greater Toronto Area

What is the Black Experience Project?

A groundbreaking research study of the "lived experience" of individuals across the Greater Toronto Area who self-identify as Black or of African heritage.

The study focuses on the contributions, successes, experiences and challenges of the people from this diverse set of communities. The research will provide valuable 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.  

The study consisted of in-depth one-on-one confidential interviews with a representative sample of more than 1,500 individuals across the GTA. The surveys have now been completed and the analysis of results is underway.  The study will be officially released in February 2017. Stay tuned for further details.

Who is behind the Black Experience Project?

The Environics Institute is conducting the research in partnership with Ryerson's Diversity Institute, the United Way of Greater Toronto, and the YMCA of Greater Toronto.

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).

Learn more about the Black Experience Project


Hear from our Community Interviewers

Introduction to the Black Experience Project


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.


The Phase 2 survey has now been completed. Analysis of the results is now underway, with a major public release now scheduled for September 2016. Stay tuned for updates.

Check out the BEP Blog HERE

Media Coverage of the Black Experience Project

CBC Radio One Metro Morning - February 17-2015

Global TV News - January 29-2015



BEP Outreach Team

Suelyn Knight - BEP Project Manager Phase 2

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



Lead Partners



Our Lead Sponsors:



 Our Regional Partners


Our media partners: 

CBC Toronto

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