Black Communities Demographic Project

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Black Demographics Study release March 18, 2010


In 2001, MCHRAT and the McGill Consortium for Ethnicity and Strategic Social Planning (MCESSP) joined together with a committee of representatives from Black communities in Montreal to produce a comprehensive report on the demographic, social and economic situation of Black communities in Montreal using data from the 1996 Canadian Census. The report, "The Evolution of the Black Community of Montreal: Change and Challenge," had a broad and significant impact on policy-makers and members of the Black community: it provided comprehensive, empirical findings which highlighted central issues of socio-economic inequality, family stability and community cohesion. The study also provided city-wide data which compared the position of Blacks with the rest of the population in Montreal and national data which situated the findings from Montreal within the Canadian context as a whole. Lastly, the study provided profiles of 10 geographic areas in which a majority of Blacks in Montreal reside in order to assist local communities and service providers to better respond to the community needs.

The 2006 Black Communities Demographic Project, to be released on March 18, 2010, is a quantitative and qualitative follow-up to the 2001 study. The purpose is to further inform policy makers and Black community leaders and help them identify strategic courses of action that will address inequalities and promote the full inclusion of Black communities in Quebec life.

The 2006, Statistics Canada Census counted 783,795 Blacks in Canada and 169,065 Blacks in Montreal. These numbers reflect a phenomenal growth rate of over 37% during the past decade.

The study addressed the following questions:

  • What demographic changes have occurred within the Black communities in Montreal since 1996?
  • To what extent have residential patterns and service needs changed since 1996?
  • How have public and para-public institutions, the private sector and Black community organizations responded to the challenges identified in the 2001 study?

Five areas have been explored in the qualitative aspect of the project:

  • Immigration and Integration
  • Youth and Justice
  • Employment
  • Families and Older People
  • Education


jim.torczyner [at] (Dr. Jim Torczyner)
Principal Investigator, Black Demographic Study
Jim Torczyner joined McGill University in 1973 after obtaining his D.S.W. from the University of California, Berkeley. He has founded a variety of community-based grassroots organizations, including Montreal's Project Genesis, and in 1981 founded the McGill Consortium for Ethnicity and Strategic Social Planning (MCESSP). In 1990 he founded the Montreal Consortium for Human Rights Advocacy Training (MCHRAT) which extends multi-disciplinary expertise to groups that have traditionally lacked access and power such as the disabled, members of minority groups, and homeless youth. MCHRAT and MCESSP house the Black Communities Demographic Project. Professor Torczyner is also Founder and Director of the McGill Middle East Program in Civil Society and Peace Building, rooted in the belief that the reduction of inequality and the promotion of civil society are essential for stable societies and peace. Professor Torczyner has served as a council member of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and is currently an editorial board member of The International Journal of Social Welfare. For a full bio click here.

nicole.ives [at] (Dr. Nicole Ives)
Principal Investigator, Immigration and Integration
Nicole Ives began her academic life with a BA in foreign area studies from Barnard College. Since then, she has nurtured a passion for issues affecting immigrant and refugee populations combined with a pursuit of social justice and societal change. Ives came to McGill's School of Social Work from the Universities of Pennsylvania and Rutgers. Informed by her own experience of the migration process from the inside, she has deepened her commitment to studying immigration and acculturation from an academic perspective. For a full bio click here.

myriam.denov [at] (Dr. Myriam Denov)
Principal Investigator, Youth and Justice
In McGill's School of Social Work, Myriam Denov researches in the areas of children and youth at risk, and international social work, with an emphasis on war and political violence, children and armed conflict, and gender-based violence. She has worked with vulnerable populations internationally including former child soldiers, victims of sexual violence, and people living with HIV/AIDS. Myriam Denov has presented expert evidence on child soldiers and has served as an advisor to government and NGOs on children and armed conflict, and girls in fighting forces. For a full bio click here.

amanda.grenier [at] (Dr. Amanda Grenier)
Co-Investigator, Families and Older People
Dr. Amanda Grenier, of McGill's School of Social Work, researches social gerontology. Her work explores the language and experiences surrounding aging and raises questions about taken-for-granted practices and expectations related to late life and growing older in Western society. She focuses on the interface of public policies, organizational practices and the experiences of older people in relation to public systems of care. For a full bio click here.

foniemi [at] (Fo Niemi)
Principal Investigator, Employment
Mr. Fo Niemi is the co-founder and since 1983, executive director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR), a non-profit civil rights organization based in Montreal. A graduate in social work from McGill University, Mr. Niemi also studied political sciences at Concordia University. He has held numerous part-time positions on the board of the Quebec Human Rights Commission, the Court Challenges Program of Canada and the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, and services on the Canadian Bar Association’s Committee on Racial Equality in the Legal Profession, the City of Montreal Task Force on Democracy and the Quebec Government’s Task Force on Racial Profiling.

amlivingstone [at] (Anne-Marie Livingstone)
Principal Investigator, Education
As part of the Black Communities Demographic Project, Anne-Marie Livingstone is coordinating qualitative research on government and community-based initiatives in the area of education and their consequences for the academic success of Black students in Montreal schools. In addition to working on the Demographic Project, Anne-Marie holds a position as evaluation coordinator for a provincial government initiative that is designed to help 22 Anglophone schools in Quebec become "community schools." She has a Master's degree in Sociology from McGill University.

ldkaustin [at] (David Austin)
Project Coordinator
With a background in community organizing, David Austin facilitates relationships between the Black Communities Demographic Project and the communities it works with.

ssprin1 [at] (Sharon Springer)
Census Analyst
SMs. Springer has a BA in Sociology from McGill University and an MA in Sociology from the University of Toronto. She has worked on several MCESSP socio-demographic projects throughout the years and has been actively involved in community work, including three years as executive director of the Black Community Resource Centre in Montreal. She is co-author of "The Evolution of the Black Community of Montreal: Change and Challenge" (2001) and is presently a Census Analyst with the 2006 Montreal Black Demographics Project.

Contact Information


black.demographic [at] (Email)

Regular mail:
Black Communities Demographic Project
Room 113, Wilson Hall, 3506 University Street
Montreal, Quebec H3A 2A7

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