‘Shopping while black’: Consumer racial profiling

It's called "shopping while black." When the colour of your skin can get you increased attention from a store's security guards. And it seems to happen every day.

Consumer racial profiling is a violation of provincial human rights codes, but some security guards admit it happens, a CBC Marketplace investigation reveals.

When an employee asked Mary McCarthy to open her backpack in a Shoppers Drug Mart in Toronto in 2011, it took her a moment to understand why. And then she knew.

"I realized I was being accused of being a thief, I was being accused of stealing," says McCarthy, who is from Fredericton.

"I was a 55-year-old, middle-aged black woman and I didn't deserve that treatment."

In a special months-long investigation, Marketplace looked at how race and culture influence how companies treat shoppers, apartment-hunters and job-seekers across Canada.