What we heard — Informing Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy
On this page
- List of acronyms and abbreviations
- Overview of the engagement process
- The role of the federal government
- Access and representation
- Hate crimes and hate speech
- Awareness and education
- Data and evidence
- Community-specific issues
- Appendix A: First Nations session summary report
- Appendix B: Inuit session summary report
- Appendix C: Métis session summary report
- Appendix D: Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami submission
- Appendix E: In-person forums
- Appendix F: Anti-Racism Engagement online survey findings
- Appendix G: Anti-Racism Engagement written submission summary
- Appendix H: Anti-racism engagement contributors
List of acronyms and abbreviations
- Action Chinese Canadians Together Foundation
- Assembly of First Nations
- Assembly of First Nations of Quebec-Labrador
- Adopt Indian Métis
- Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council
- British Columbia
- Caribbean African Canadian Social Services
- Canada's Action Plan Against Racism
- Canadian Human Rights Tribunal
- Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
- Canadian Museum for Human Rights
- Community Support, Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Initiative
- Curriculum vitae
- Disabled Women's Network
- GBA +
- Gender-based analysis plus
- Human Resources
- International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance
- Indigenous Services Canada
- Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
- Most lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit
- Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
- Members of Parliament
- National Aboriginal Advisory Committee
- One Full Circle
- Registered Clinical Counsellor
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
In the context of the engagement, we used the following working definitions developed by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and the Ontario Human Rights Commission:
- Race is a "social construct." This means that society forms ideas of race based on geographic, historical, political, economic, social and cultural factors, as well as physical traits, even though none of these can legitimately be used to classify groups of people.
- The process through which groups come to be socially constructed as races, based on characteristics such as ethnicity, language, economics, religion, culture, politics.
- The idea that, in individuals, multiple identities (for example, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability) intersect to create a whole that is different from the component identities.
- Fairness, impartiality, even-handedness. A distinct process of recognizing differences within groups of individuals, and using this understanding to achieve substantive equality in all aspects of a person's life.
- Treating someone unfairly by either imposing a burden on them, or denying them a privilege, benefit or opportunity enjoyed by others, because of their race, citizenship, family status, disability, sex or other personal characteristics.
- Systemic or institutional discrimination
- Consists of patterns of behaviour, policies or practices that are part of the social or administrative structures of an organization, and which create or perpetuate a position of relative disadvantage for racialized persons. These appear neutral on the surface but, nevertheless, have an exclusionary impact on racialized persons.
- Social participation
- Involvement in meaningful activities (social, cultural, physical, educational, recreational, etc.) that increase one's sense of belonging and well-being.
The Government of Canada seeks to foster and promote an inclusive society where everyone is able to fully participate in the economic, cultural, social and political spheres. Achieving this vision is not just a way to build a better country, it also addresses the human cost of systemic and individual racism and discrimination. Building a society that is free of racism requires ongoing commitment. Our priorities and activities need to be regularly updated to make sure that the most pressing needs and promising opportunities are being addressed.
Racism and discrimination can exist in all parts of our lives in Canada, from systemic racism and the unconscious biases that may influence how we relate to one another, to the under- or overrepresentation of racialized communities and Indigenous Peoples in various sectors. Acknowledging that racism and discrimination are a part of our lived reality is a critical first step to action.
It is clear that Indigenous Peoples' and racialized communities' experiences with racism and discrimination vary. Even within communities, groups and individuals can be excluded and harmed in different ways as a result of multiple intersecting identity factors such as gender. Consider the following:
- Foreign-born racialized peoples earn, on average, 78 cents for every dollar earned by foreign-born non-racialized people.
- Black men face a larger earnings gap in the private sector than White men, while Black women face this gap in both public and private sectors. The earnings gaps they face, as reported in the 1996, 2001 and 2006 census, have not lessened over time.
- In 2017, Indigenous People represented 4.9% of the Canadian population but accounted for 23.1% of the 2016-17 total federal offender population. Further, Indigenous women in custody represented 36.6% of all in-custody women while Indigenous men in custody represented 26.3% of all men in custody.
- There were 2,073 police-reported hate crimes in Canada in 2017 – a 47% increase over the previous year, with a 32% increase in hate crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity.
- Hate crimes targeting Jewish and Muslim populations were the most common type of hate crime related to religion, comprising 48% and 30% of crimes against a religion, respectively.
- 11% of individuals with a non-Christian religion indicated that they faced discrimination based on their religion in the previous five years compared to 1% of Christians.
Over the years, the Government of Canada has put in place a number of laws, policies and programs that focus on overcoming racism and discrimination, including the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms, the Canadian Multiculturalism Act and Canada's Action Plan Against Racism (CAPAR), in place from 2005 to 2010.
Overview of the engagement process
Canada's Anti-Racism Strategy Engagement began in October 2018 and ended in March 2019, with the goal of gathering input from Canadians, especially those with lived experiences of racism and discrimination. The engagement sought to:
- identify issues and experiences related to racism, as well as the factors that contribute to them;
- generate ideas and suggestions on how the Government of Canada can best address racism;
- increase public understanding of the nature of racism in Canada and the Government of Canada's role in overcoming it;
- demonstrate the Government's interest and involvement in combating racism.
The engagement consisted of in-person forums hosted by Minister Pablo Rodriguez, Parliamentary Secretary Gary Anandasangaree, or other Government of Canada Ministers, and in partnership with or led by community groups, the Métis National Council with the Manitoba Métis Federation, the Assembly of First Nations, and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. Data from these sessions was gathered by the consulting company Delaney and Associates and sessions were facilitated by third-party facilitators. In addition, an online component included a digital engagement platform and a survey which mirrored the questions asked at most in-person sessions. Canadian Heritage officials also participated in meetings with several provincial counterparts and community organizations. The locations of the in-person forums can be found at Appendix E and the results of the online survey can be found at Appendix F. A summary of written submissions received can be found at Appendix G.
In total, 22 in-person engagement sessions were held, involving over 600 participants from some 443 organizations, listed at Appendix H. Participant lists for department-led sessions were developed based on the need to hear from people across Canada with lived experiences of racism, as well as community and religious leaders, academics, and others with expertise related to anti-racism.
The role of the federal government
Racism is rooted in history
We heard that, although Canada has promoted multiculturalism and diversity over the years, systemic racism is still at the core of many institutions. Participants emphasized that systemic or institutional racism cannot be addressed without considering the history of colonialism, privilege, and patriarchy. We were told that the roots of racism need to be acknowledged for actual change to be achieved. We were also told that we must create spaces for all people, including white people, to talk about these issues.
Calls were made for the federal government to decolonize the way its institutions, policies and processes are structured to enable racialized communities and Indigenous Peoples to fully contribute. Participants told us that we need to view, analyze and address racism while recognizing that it intersects with colonial legacies, class, status, race, and related issues such as the social determinants of health, including work and living conditions. Participants also told us that we must acknowledge the need for and create programs and strategies that value all identities and are culturally specific to the population that they are serving.
Make combating racism a priority
Participants at every forum expressed the need for a stronger role for the federal government in bringing a clear, coordinated and efficient approach to anti-racism work. They emphasized that the Government should make addressing racism a priority. They emphasize that the federal government should create a national, cohesive approach to anti-racism. Some participants suggested that the Government should focus on adopting stronger and more enforceable anti-racism policies, laws and initiatives, as well as highlight the social and economic advantage of eliminating racism. Enshrining anti-racism changes and initiatives in legislation, programs, and policies rather than focusing on anti-racism training for individuals is more likely to bring structural changes that will outlast changes in staffing or appointments.
We heard that a multi-party approach to anti-racism was important. Some participants suggested that a non-partisan, and potentially non-governmental, body should be created, dedicated to anti-racism policies. They also suggested that the government implement an anti-racism lens through which all policy and legislation is tested and vetted.
Communities must be supported and engaged
We were told that funding for community programs, organizations and initiatives that carry out anti-racism work should be increased and sustained on an ongoing basis.
In all of the engagement forums, we heard that it is important for the federal government to continue engaging racialized communities, religious minority communities and Indigenous Peoples, and meaningfully involve them in decision-making related to proposed government actions. Participants told us that not involving these communities creates missed opportunities and is an underlying cause of continued racism.
Engagement participants also told us that they are frustrated with the lack of concrete action that they see coming out of their participation in these types of forums, where they see the same issues discussed again and again. Participants recommended that the federal government collaborate with racialized and religious communities and Indigenous Peoples to create solutions to racism, co-develop policies and legislation, and consistently and clearly report on outcomes. They recommended that dedicated funding be provided for collaboration between people working on anti-racism initiatives, and that multi-year, sustained funding be provided for anti-racism programs.
Participants also highlighted the importance of working with other levels of government on areas such as employment and education.
Access and representation
The lack of representation of Indigenous Peoples and members of racialized communities in all sectors of society, particularly in leadership roles, was the underlying factor most often mentioned by participants.
Representative, equitable and inclusive workplaces
We heard that Indigenous Peoples, as well as racialized and certain religious minority communities experience bias in hiring, retention and mobility in employment. Participants explained that bias, both conscious and unconscious, can work in a variety of ways, such as screening resumés based on names, only interviewing referred candidates, and not providing clear requirements or processes for promotion. For youth in particular, systemic racism within the education system and among employers leads to both un- and underemployment. Participants told us that young people may choose careers that are in jobs and trades, due to not being encouraged to pursue professional careers. Participants expressed that many racialized youth are unable to get hired in their chosen fields, even after having completed mentorships and internships, visited job fairs and networking events, secured all the required documentation, or completed the requisite education.
Participants told us that programs and initiatives to enable racialized communities and Indigenous Peoples to secure employment, enter the workforce, or gain positions of leadership were lacking or insufficient. A variety of employment initiatives for racialized communities (including newcomers) and Indigenous Peoples were proposed, including:
- strengthening professional networking opportunities with employers to build informal access to employment opportunities;
- promoting best practices like blind recruitment and respect for Indigenous competencies, for example speaking an Indigenous language;
- introducing or supporting programs to prepare youth for employment by providing access to resources, training and tools;
- providing internships for youth, students and people who lack work experience;
- enhancing summer work experience programs so that Indigenous and racialized youth have greater access to and can better understand and meet job requirements; and
- examining the underlying factors that may impact the unemployment of Indigenous and racialized youth where they were provided with support but still did not get hired.
We also heard that new or strengthened legislation could help in addressing racism in the employment and income support context. Participants indicated that: (1) there is not enough legislation in this area; (2) existing legislation, such as the Employment Equity Act and the Pay Equity Act, do not apply broadly enough; and (3) this existing legislation is in need of stronger enforcement.
Finally, we heard that the Government of Canada should act as a leader in diversifying the leadership of the public service, as well as appointments to federal agencies and bodies. The Government should act as a model, following best practices in hiring, as well as retaining and promoting a diverse workforce reflective of Canadian demographics. It was also suggested that the Government could mandate diversity quotas or targets in several areas, including the federal workforce, federally-funded events, and federal procurement, contracting and funding activities.
Over-representation in the criminal justice system has many causes and effects
We heard at the majority of forums that racialized and Indigenous Peoples face systemic racism at every stage of the criminal justice system. In several engagement sessions the Canadian justice system was described as Eurocentric and punitive and an underlying contributor to racism, as opposed to fostering feelings of community safety. We also heard that people are concerned about the impact of mandatory minimum sentences and the over-representation of racialized people, particularly Black Canadians, and Indigenous Peoples in prisons, identifying it as a critical issue that needs to be addressed. Participants shared concerns about the lack of diversity on juries, and the need to address the fact that jurors can have conscious and unconscious biases.
We were told by participants that the federal government must address discriminatory police conduct through tracking and reporting of incidents, adequate investigations into police conduct, and meaningful legal consequences where misconduct arises. We were also told that the federal government should increase funding for community policing, increase financial support for community relations and communication between police forces and communities, and provide trauma-informed policing for racialized peoples, including Black communities and Indigenous Peoples. With specific reference to data collected in the criminal justice context, we were told that disaggregated data is essential to proper understanding.
Calls were also made for greater knowledge of and recourse to other traditions of justice, including broader support for restorative justice practices that bring victims and perpetrators of crime together to change behavior. Participants also suggested focusing on the prevention of crime and victimization by enhancing community support and capacity and introducing initiatives to support racialized and Indigenous people in the justice system.
We heard that supports and programs for people who are incarcerated should be substantially increased, and that inmates should be provided with culturally relevant support that could include spiritual and religious support.
Specific to Indigenous Peoples, recommendations included consistently applying and monitoring the Gladue sentencing principles, which require sentencing judges to pay particular attention to the circumstances of Indigenous offenders and to consider all available sanctions other than imprisonment that are reasonable in the circumstances. Participants also recommended the introduction of a justice strategy for Black Canadians that is rooted in disaggregated data and features initiatives ranging from crime prevention to post-sentence community reintegration.
Our Canadian narrative needs to properly represent our diversity
At almost all of the forums, participants told us that an underlying factor contributing to racism is that the Canadian narrative is largely built around people who are white, cisgender, heterosexual and middle/upper class. As a result, many newcomers do not feel that they are considered "true Canadians" even after living and working in Canada for many years. Many racialized people expressed that, even after having lived in Canada for many generations, they are still treated as "others", and rarely recognized for their place in and contributions to Canadian society. The story that is told and re-told is not an inclusive story, and racialized communities and Indigenous Peoples often feel that they are not part of the Canadian culture.
Arts and culture are vehicles through which Canada's stories are shared. We heard that Canada's cultural infrastructure is rooted in the legacy of British culture. Participants expressed the view that there is a need to revisit the Canadian story, build on it, and reframe it. Participants recommended that the federal government use social media to build the anti-racism narrative, as well as fund education and awareness initiatives on racism.
Participants at the engagement sessions told us that accessing funds for arts is difficult for Indigenous Peoples and racialized communities as funding processes do not take into account historical disadvantage. We also heard that funding for sports and recreation is often short-term and has built-in barriers, including the level of effort required to submit applications and the way they are assessed. We heard that funding should be more inclusive and more accessible.
We were told that the federal government should support the reshaping of stories told about Canada and Canadians so that they are more accurate, representative, and contribute to a definition of Canadian culture that is inclusive of racialized communities and Indigenous Peoples. The Government was encouraged to support cultural works created by Indigenous Peoples and racialized communities that tell their own stories, in their own voices, and where applicable, in their own languages.
More generally, we were told that exclusionary, discriminatory and racist stereotypes about specific racialized communities, Indigenous Peoples and religious groups is an underlying factor that contributes to an inability for these groups participate fully in Canadian society. Specific types of stereotypes identified include Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism, Anti-Black racism, and racism toward Indigenous Peoples. Calls were made for the federal government to address stereotyping, to foster better awareness and education regarding the history of the Indian Act, its application and the rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Engagement participants referenced the role the media plays in perpetuating racism through its recounting of history, as well as its presentation of contemporary news stories. Participants suggested that the media should be required to report on crimes committed by members of racialized communities and religious minorities in ways that don't convey stereotypes. Possible initiatives could be grounded in, for example, opportunities for the public and the media to learn about different cultural practices.
Equitable access to funding and services
We heard that there are many barriers that prevent Indigenous Peoples and racialized communities from being able to access a wide variety of services and supports. These range from a lack of knowledge of available programs, to language barriers, prohibitive costs and inconvenient locations. Participants suggested that the federal government share information through focused outreach to community organizations, support the use of languages other than French and English for federal service providers, and bridge the gap in access to federal programs and resources for those outside of major urban centres.
Participants told us that initiatives to address racism are not as effective when we don't consider intersectionality. We heard that experiences of racialized communities, certain religious communities, and Indigenous Peoples vary, particularly as they intersect with other social identities (for example, gender, age, ability). Participants also told us that programs and policies tend to exclude or not prioritize racialized communities, through their emphasis on other groups - for example, gender.
Calls were made for the federal government to analyze, understand and address racism through an intersectional lens, and to fund intersectional research and analysis of race and gender as they pertain to social and economic outcomes. Participants also suggested that federal budgeting and funding be examined through a gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) equity and inclusion lens.
At almost every session, participants commented on federal funding parameters and practices and how the lack of long-term funding and the complex application requirements, among other factors, impacted the success of their work.
We heard that the federal government should make funding processes, reporting and evaluation simpler and more accessible for smaller organizations; provide longer-term or ongoing funding to allow for the entire lifecycle of programs; and, move towards funding programs as opposed to projects to enhance sustainability. We also heard that collaboration between communities and the government should be promoted, as should funding for successful pilot projects. Participants highlighted the importance of measuring progress through long-term results, with better indicators to inform if funding is effective.
Hate crimes and hate speech
Participants observed that hate crimes are increasing in frequency and intensity. They told us that there are problems with the current treatment of hate crimes in the Criminal Code, as well as in the reporting and enforcement of hate crimes. Participants emphasized that Black Canadians, Muslims and Jewish communities are some of the groups who experience hate crimes disproportionately.
We also heard that online hate is an underlying factor that contributes to or causes racism. It is a serious phenomenon that exists in many forms and significantly impacts young people. People told us that social media can play a significant role both in spreading hate and in combating it. Some participants suggested the introduction of a federal strategy to deal with online hate, both to keep up with online hatred and to embrace the complementary role of social media as a tool for fighting online hate. People emphasized the need to regulate social media platforms and hold them accountable to their own policies.
Calls were made to modernize and broaden the inclusion of hate crime in the Criminal Code and to ban certain hate groups from undertaking certain activities. Participants also told us that hate crimes should be better tracked and monitored, and recommended increased funding for police hate crimes units and training, creating standardized guidelines for consolidated and coordinated collection of data related to hate crimes, as well as introducing stricter measures for addressing intolerant speech in the media or reinstating section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Participants recommended funding strategies beyond those within the criminal justice system to deal with hate crimes, including by providing public education on "by-standing" and what to do when experiencing a hate crime and better informing communities on how to report hate crimes as well as how hate crimes are identified and investigated. They also suggested creating an online platform housing resources for victims of racism.
Awareness and education
Across the country, we heard that Canadians don't know enough about systemic racism, discrimination, and their historical and ongoing impacts. For example, concepts such as the difference between racism and discrimination, the meaning of cultural and unconscious bias, the importance of intersectionality in anti-racism work, and the impacts of slavery and colonialism are important to understand how and why barriers exist for many communities.
Training gaps exist in all sectors
A lack of anti-racism training and awareness was identified by participants at every forum across the country as an underlying factor contributing or causing racism. Participants described this lack of, or limited, training and awareness in many different contexts, including: government organizations, non-governmental organizations, the non-profit sector, the private sector and between communities and cultures themselves.
We were told that the federal government should provide mandatory education and training on anti-racism for all public servants. We also heard ideas about what the federal government could do to promote training offered by non-governmental organizations, including private companies and not-for-profit organizations. For example, making the provision of anti-racism training a requirement for funding, mandating annual training, and introducing rewards or incentives for companies that provide training. The need for mandatory and measurable anti-racism training for police officers, judges, Crown prosecutors and defense counsel was identified as a means to address racism in the area of justice.
Bring people together
We were told that a lack of intercultural understanding, communication and discussion between communities increases fear and racism. We also heard that sometimes, people are hesitant to speak about other cultures, which contributes to the lack of intercultural understanding. Participants specifically pointed out gaps in awareness of Black Canadian history, Indigenous Peoples' rights, Muslims and the values they share with other communities in Canada, and, more generally, the contributions of newcomers to Canadian society.
Participants suggested that the federal government support projects, programs and partnerships that bring people from different cultures together to facilitate learning, deepen understanding and find commonalities. We heard, for example, that the government could support an interfaith dialogue, and incorporate Indigenous history and practices in the welcoming of newcomers.
Participants also highlighted the need for all levels of government to work together, recognizing that issues such as education and health care fall within provincial jurisdiction.
Use the right words
We heard at most of the engagement sessions that problematic words and phrases used by the federal government and other sectors can be a factor contributing to racism. Specifically, participants told us that we should stop using the phrase "visible minority", and that when addressing racism, we should emphasize "anti-racism" instead of "multiculturalism". They suggested increasing awareness of a common anti-racism lexicon.
Data and evidence
The lack of detailed, disaggregated data as well as shortcomings in the consistent collection, measurement, reporting and analysis of data was cited as an underlying factor contributing to racism. Participants indicated that without detailed disaggregated data there is no baseline to measure racism in Canada against which to measure anti-racism initiatives.
Participants recommended that the federal government coordinate the collection and dissemination of meaningful and detailed disaggregated data which takes into account an intersectional lens. Data should be shared across government institutions to better address systemic discrimination. Data should also be accessible to communities in order for organizations to better tailor their services and use the data in their advocacy.
Indigenous Peoples face pervasive systemic racism
We held three distinctions-based forums for First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and the Métis National Council and Manitoba Métis Federation, who selected participants and facilitators at each of the forums. These forums each have their own summary report, which may be found at Appendices A, B and C. The written submission provided by Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) can also be found at Appendix D. The summary below is based only on the non-distinctions-based engagement sessions across the country.
Within the non-distinctions-based engagement sessions, which also included Indigenous Peoples, participants told us that Indigenous Peoples experience racism differently than other communities, and that there is a lack of recognition of the uneven impacts of racism on Indigenous Peoples by the federal government, ultimately resulting in failed policies and the perpetuation of systemic racism: the effects of colonialism and the results of the residential school system remain misunderstood. Calls were made for a separate, Indigenous-specific anti-racism strategy. Calls were also made for an anti-racism strategy specific to Thunder Bay, Ontario.
We heard that the unique legislative structure of the Indian Act is a root cause of the specific systemic racism faced by Indigenous Peoples. Participants told us that the federal government must recognize and address the fact that Indigenous Peoples are not entitled to their own resources because of the Indian Act, there is minimal economy on reserve, and when Indigenous Peoples leave for employment off-reserve they are faced with racism. Further, the federal government must develop ways to keep funds from flowing out of Indigenous communities and to sustain and build these economies.
We also heard that the definitions and categorization of Indigenous Peoples that are used for certain funding and programming initiatives can impact access these resources and thereby contribute to racism. Participants explained that a definition of Indigenous Peoples that only encompasses "on-reserve" Indigenous Peoples or includes "urban" but not "rural/remote" Indigenous Peoples miss the voices of some Indigenous people.
Participants recommended that the federal government:
- address issues pertaining to Indigenous Peoples including living conditions, lack of opportunities for Indigenous youth and lack of employment opportunities;
- adopt a rights-based approach to issues such as food security and health;
- address stereotypes and racism in the health care system that hurt, particularly, Indigenous Peoples; and,
- focus on the underlying causes of incarceration for Indigenous Peoples.
Participants told us that Indigenous children and youth also require more support. We were told that the federal government must increase funding for First Nations education, address the funding gap between on- and off-reserve Indigenous children, and address the disproportionately high number of Indigenous children placed in foster care.
Finally, we heard that we should promote digital literacy and access for Indigenous Peoples in rural and remote areas, so that they can use services that are only otherwise available in urban areas. We were told that we should involve urban Indigenous Peoples in conversations about funding, programs and services and create supports for Indigenous people from reserves seeking employment in cities.
Black Canadians have a unique experience of racism
Participants told us that Black Canadians face challenges different than those of other racialized communities. There is a lack of recognition of the uneven impacts of racism for Black Canadians. We heard that anti-Black racism in employment is a unique challenge that is perpetuated and exacerbated by many factors including gaps in earning, exclusion from professional networks and lack of access to meaningful employment opportunities for youth.
Calls were made for the federal government to adopt the objectives and program of activities of the United Nations International Decade of People of African Descent, which was proclaimed for 2015-2024 and recognizes people of African descent as a distinct group of communities with distinct needs. The program of activities includes, at the national level, states taking steps to combat racism and intolerance faced by people of African descent in the areas of recognition, justice, development and discrimination.
We were told that the federal government should recognize anti-Black racism as a distinct form of racism and take special measures to address it. This includes acknowledging slavery's history in Canada and apologizing for Canada's role in the transatlantic slave trade as well as providing more education about Black Canadian history that recognizes the issues faced by and contributions made by Black Canadian communities. Participants also recommended providing trauma-informed programs for those providing services to Black Canadians, including employment and police services, and addressing the negative depiction of Black Canadians in the media.
Antisemitism continues to persist
Participants told us that antisemitism is an underlying factor for racism with its own unique characteristics distinct from other forms of racism. We heard that antisemitism often does not take place in the form of discrimination against an individual but rather as discrimination against a group or a community.
Participants recommended that the federal government publicly disassociate itself from groups who promote antisemitism and actively disallow or ban anti-Semitic groups from undertaking their activities. Participants also told us that the federal government should endorse the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of "antisemitism": "Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities."
Islamophobia presents specific challenges
Several engagement participants told us that they see an increase in Islamophobia, or anti-Muslim hate and discrimination, as exemplified by the Quebec City mosque shooting. We heard that barriers exist in employment, where people can be screened out of processes based on their surnames. We were also told that perceptions of employability, for example of Muslim women and girls, can be a factor, and that creating opportunities for employers to meet and learn more about Muslim communities would be useful.
People also told us that the portrayal of Muslims in the media, both in fictionalized series and more importantly in the news, contributed to the racism they experienced: when a crime is committed, the religion of the perpetrator is more likely to be noted when they are Muslim. We heard that further data needs to be collected in relation to law enforcement as it impacts Muslims. We also heard that Islamophobia can manifest itself indirectly, through comments regarding the hijab or niqab.
Newcomers face particular barriers
Across the engagement sessions, participants identified newcomers – especially racialized newcomers - as a group that has unique experiences of racism, including negative narratives about newcomers, limited or insufficient settlement services, and barriers to accessing existing services. They told us of the particular stigma attached to newcomers that needs to be addressed. Participants indicated that the rights and opportunities available to temporary workers, the lack of recognition of foreign credentials and the long process for becoming a permanent resident hampered the full participation of newcomers in Canadian society.
Participants told us that employment was difficult for newcomers because of a lack of supports including affordable childcare, networking opportunities between newcomers and employers, and accessible entry-level jobs.
We were told that newcomers face barriers to participating in governmental decision-making at multiple levels, from an inability to vote to a lack of knowledge on how to engage with local governments. They often face barriers in entering careers in politics and government because of financial situations limiting access to post-secondary studies.
Calls were made for the federal government to raise awareness of the contributions of newcomers to Canadian society and the economy, provide more robust and long-term funding for settlement. Participants told us that it was important for the federal government to establish poverty reduction initiatives for low-income newcomer families and to provide more support and resources for refugees, including unaccompanied minors. Further, it was recommended that the federal government make keeping families together a priority, recognizing that migrant workers do not have an opportunity to be together with their families and this impacts their sense of belonging.
Participants told us that the federal government should review the status and rights of immigrants with temporary residence, remove a barrier for low-income immigrants by eliminating the citizenship application fee, and making the citizenship process faster. We also heard that we should examine policies that result in different wait times for immigrants from different countries. Participants suggested increasing the number of Canadian embassies around the world to make them more accessible to people in racialized regions, and eliminating minimum necessary income for family reunification as it disproportionately impacts racialized communities.
Finally, participants suggested that the federal government do more to address newcomers' lack of access to the political system. This could include introducing voting for permanent residents and including youth in civic engagement projects.
Appendix A: First Nations session summary report (Provided by the Assembly of First Nations)
Opening and welcome remarks
Mr. Mathieu Courchene, Facilitator, called the meeting to order and Mr. Keith Matthews opened the meeting with a prayer.
The Honourable Pablo Rodríguez, Minister, Department of Canadian Heritage
Minister Pablo Rodríguez, Department of Canadian Heritage, said that it was an honour to be in attendance. He acknowledged Regional Chief Picard and thanked the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) for helping to organize such an important meeting. Minister Rodríguez said that this issue was important for him, as well as for the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada.
The department wanted to develop concrete anti-racism actions. He recognized that the concrete actions may not 'magically' change anything or make much of a difference, but perhaps working together, they could begin to make a little bit of difference. The department would be drafting a report outlining specific programs and methods to fight racism, including systemic racism. Minister Rodríguez said that he was there to listen and learn from the participants with an open heart and ears as well as answer any questions.
Ghislain Picard, AFN Regional Chief, Québec/Labrador
Regional Chief Picard began by acknowledging the participants in his language. He thanked Mr. Matthews for the opening prayer and Minister Rodríguez for his opening remarks and for attending the meeting. He provided an example of a recent event that had occurred in Australia. An individual had accidentally hit another vehicle in a parking lot and noticed that there were Aboriginal stickers on the vehicle they had hit. That individual then left a note on the vehicle they hit, saying that they did not feel bad about hitting the vehicle because based on the stickers, the owner was Aboriginal.
Regional Chief Picard said that it was difficult to define extremes when it came to racism. He said that every single racist event has a story behind it and that was also true for that event that happened in Australia and true for every Indigenous person experiencing racism. He continued that some of his grandkids played hockey and when he has time, he enjoys attending their games. People do not always react positively when seeing an Indigenous team on the ice. Some people make racist comments in the arena and that has an effect on the children playing hockey as well as their parents in the stands.
He said that he was honoured to have the privilege and opportunity to set the stage for the day's important discussion. Regional Chief Picard recognized that they were gathered on the Haudenosaunee Nations territory and thanked the Mohawk Nation for welcoming everyone to their territory. He welcomed the participants on behalf of the AFNQL and thanked The Honourable Rodríguez for taking part in the discussion. Racism and systemic discrimination have been prevailing for a long time and short-term solutions will not address the issue, however, Minister Rodríguez's participation demonstrates that everyone is looking for solutions and answers together, in the spirit of tolerance and living together.
As an Innu, as Chief of the AFNQL and as a member of his First Nation, Regional Chief Picard did not pretend to have all of the solutions. There was work that had to be done as a society and each person could make a difference. Fighting racism and discrimination will take everyone to work together. Racialized violence has no place in Canada, as it causes real harm, stunts personal growth and affects one's well-being and health determination.
First Nations individuals have encountered racism throughout their lives in many forms, whether it has been subtle, overt and/or violent. There are many ill-conceived and ill-informed ideas about people's backgrounds, which leads to harassment, scapegoating and discrimination. Extreme forms of racism leads to physical violence that can lead to death and murder. For example, with respect to violence against women, police officers in Val d'Or are still being reported as abusing First Nations women, despite an Inquiry into that matter having taken place. The fear of being abused by the very people that First Nations should consider as protectors is a result of the systemic racism that crawls in public institutions.
Racism does not exist in isolation. For First Nations, there is a history of colonization and negative and political media discourse to fuel racism against First Nations people. The media coverage of First Nations' concerns for human rights and for the environment enhances the majority population's negative attitudes against First Nations. Regional Chief Picard reflected on the 'Idle No More' movement where many negative comments were made.
He mentioned the issue of Nathan Phillips in the United States and a situation fueled by a lack of understanding. However, the media transformed the event into a fight between groups. Nevertheless, voices must be united in health, employment, the justice system and other government services. Regional Chief Picard noted the unnecessary death of Brian Sinclair that illustrated the harmful impacts of racism. Mr. Sinclair was left in the emergency room for over 36 hours, being ignored by hospital staff who left him unattended and uncared for, where he eventually died, from a treatable bladder infection.
Housing racism also exists, where First Nations are denied equal access to housing for reasons not related to one's information as a tenant or home owner.
There are significant barriers to employment where remuneration is well below the industry average. Nor does it matter if a First Nations individual has a university degree; there is little deviation from that trend. First Nations also face barriers to success in the arts and in sports. Canada's colonial history of forcibly taking First Nations from their families to eradicate First Nations cultures and languages was demonstrated by residential schools, the 60's scoop and the child welfare system today. There are more First Nations children in state care today than there were in residential schools.
Racism against First Nations individuals is so evident in the justice system. The justice system is failing First Nations individuals. The overrepresentation of First Nations individuals in prisons has been widely acknowledged by the federal government, Supreme Court of Canada and the United Nations.
The AFN is acknowledging this national discussion, not to point out examples of racism, but to discuss how individual differences can reinforce social values. First Nations have culture and rich traditions that can contribute to Canada as a whole. There is a need to recognize the numerous contributions of First Nations in the fields of medicine, science, cooking, culture, arts, transportation, etc.
First Nations can participate in the dialogue on what must change so that First Nations contributions are recognized and respected by Canadians. There is a need to celebrate First Nations resilience to colonization and racism. First Nations still practice their cultures and speak their languages and remain concerned with their traditional territories. Regional Chief Picard stated that fighting racism is in the best interest of First Nations children and youth. He noted that First Nations youth are the fastest growing generation and future generations must have access to all opportunities related to education, health, housing, etc., as mainstream society. Today's youth are more tolerant than previous generations and there is more opportunity to learn because of technology. It is important that youth get an opportunity to travel to better understand people from all backgrounds. Youth should be inspired and supported in their search of knowledge.
Regional Chief Picard looked forward to the contributions that participants would make to this important discussion.
Seema Jethalal, Federal Lead, Anti-Racism Engagement, Department of Canadian Heritage
Ms. Jethalal said that it was an honour to be at the meeting and thanked the participants for traveling so far to attend the meeting. She thanked Mr. Matthews for opening the meeting with a prayer and Regional Chief Picard for his opening comments. She also thanked Minister Rodríguez for attending.
She stated that she was the lead on the anti-racism engagement that was occurring across the country. She also worked closely with the policy shop within the department, who would be using the information gathered to inform a National Anti-Racism Strategy that will be tabled in the coming year.
Ms. Jethalal mentioned that the current session was 20 of 22 in-person conversations that were happening across the country. Those included three (3) national forums, each with Inuit, Métis and First Nations. There have also been several regional forums held. There have been sessions held in cities and towns and they have involved some Indigenous and racialized voices as well as experts working in this field. Community forums have also occurred with grassroots organizations that focus on anti-racism and equity. There have also been meetings with individuals and organizations, such as Friendship Centres. Several individuals and organizations have also reached out to Members of Parliament (MPs) and those conversations will also be included in the discussion. An on-line survey was previously available to the public and email submissions are still welcome. She encouraged the participants to submit additional comments, recommendations and/or papers.
She noted that the engagement began in October 2018 and would wrap-up in February 2019. Ms. Jethalal looked forward to the discussion and indicated that no names would be attributed within the notes and report. She added that there was also new program funding for anti-racism initiatives called the Community Support, Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Initiative (CSMARI) and the two (2) priority areas included racialized women and girls and Indigenous peoples.
The participants were asked to introduce themselves and outline areas for further exploration and discussion throughout the session. The following outlines the themes identified by participants, in no particular order. However, systemic racism was identified as a key issue that cut across all sectors, including poverty; housing; education; sports; employment; health; child welfare system; homelessness; justice; etc.
Canada and First Nations
There is a need to 'recast' Canadian culture and society in ways that are necessary to address harms experienced by First Nations. First Nations and their ancestors have experienced acute racism and discrimination throughout generations. First Nations experience it as infants and in utero when First Nations mothers are denied care. There is marginalization from economic and educational opportunities. Walking down the street is not a safe endeavour for First Nations. Approaching police is not safe for First Nations. This systemic discrimination is understood, well-known and well-documented by Indigenous peoples and Commissions of Inquiry.
Understanding the consequences of racism and discrimination is an essential pre-condition of work that Canada must do under its current leadership. It is a pre-condition and preliminary step. Racism and discrimination does not come from Indigenous people. Indigenous people cannot be the authors of change that needs to occur. It must come from non-Indigenous Canada; as individuals and organizations and institutions and through government. The very culture of Canada and Canadian society has to change.
The experience of First Nations, on a person to person basis, with respect to discrimination is perpetuated by the Canadian state. Canada structurally encodes it through the public underfunding of every service in First Nations communities, including policing. There are long-term issues that have occurred for the past 152 years. Canada needs to cost out all of the inequalities and address them all at the same time. That intervention is crucial. Canada cannot continue a program of racial discrimination as a fiscal measure.
Racism and discrimination appears to be steeped, both consciously and unconsciously, in individuals, both collectively and institutionally throughout government. There is a need to change that. First Nations leaders and Elders have outlined their obligations to working in partnership with Canada to change that.
It is sometimes easy to respond to overt acts of racism that are in the media. There is a need to recognize that those events have deep rooted institutionalized racism that is not often discussed. Having those difficult conversations and addressing systemic racism is a difficult, long-term process. Hopefully it will result in changing the dynamics of the country.
Policy and Legislation
The systemic racism in Canada's policies had to be addressed. It is difficult to make change if policies remain the same. Everyone needs to listen to First Nations when they talk about discrimination and racism, including the federal, provincial and municipal governments. The politicians develop the regulations and policies within Canada and new protocols, laws and regulations should be put in place to address racism within the various systems in the country, such as within the education system, health care system, etc. The litmus test for any country/Nation is the way it treats its most vulnerable members. For Canada, this is Indigenous women and Indigenous youth, in particular. Work is currently being done to change the Criminal Code to stop violence against women, with Bill S-215.
Discussion has to occur on the policy and legislative considerations that affect First Nations and overrepresentation in the child welfare, justice and health systems, for example. Specific cases and idea should be highlighted, such as the forced sterilization of Indigenous women. Another issue that should be considered is Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).
There is a two-tiered system in Canada: the Canadian system; and, the Indian Act system. The Indian Act is the greatest impediment to First Nations people and is a racist piece of legislation.
The Indian Act is a paternalistic Act and is where racism stems from. The provincial governments tells their residents that everyone is entitled to housing, safety, health, etc., but when it comes to First Nations, they pass the ball over to the federal government. In Quebec, there are laws and rules that are applied in First Nations communities, including laws for education. First Nations in Quebec are told by the provincial government how to educate their children. However, if a First Nations community wants to adapt the education program, it is not allowed.
First Nations are a trustee on their own lands because of the Indian Act. First Nations are treated like children under that Act. It was noted that First Nations women who have a child with a non-Indigenous father are 25% more likely to lose their child compared to a non-Indigenous woman.
In the 1970's, Canada introduced a new social policy of multi-culturalism. That resonated well with the Canadian population and that worked well for everyone, except for First Nations. Had that policy been successful, racism against First Nations, Métis and Inuit would not exist in this country. The participants provided additional examples of policies and legislation that were racist and discriminatory, including the 1969 White Paper and the Papal Bulls of Discovery. It was mentioned that recommendations from the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination should be implemented, particularly for women and Indigenous peoples.
There is a need to bring First Nations people into the Constitution of Canada in a real way, as equal partners. That can be done by building First Nations institutions and rebuilding First Nations languages, culture and history.
However, it was also noted that legislation is not needed to validate the existence of First Nations; Treaties are in place that should supersede any government legislation. Canada continues to try to legislate First Nations and that is another form of racism.
Policies and regulations have to be developed so that there is no longer abuse of authority, whether it be in the justice system, child welfare system, etc., because of racism and discrimination against First Nations.
The comment was made that a discussion should occur on how racism manifests itself in athletics. A university sports team wants to continue to be called 'The Redmen', for example. Canada is supposed to be setting the benchmark for the average citizen of what is moral and just, however, they are failing.
The issue of racism has to be addressed in hockey. First Nations face racism on and off the ice within Quebec hockey associations, despite there being zero tolerance policies regarding racism and discrimination. The players face racism every day and some even quit playing, despite having talent and a love for the game.
First Nations hockey players face discrimination all across the country. An incident that occurred at a Quebec City arena included people in the stands doing 'war cries' and 'tomahawk chops' and yelling to First Nations players that their homes were being paid for by the other players' parents. These incidents are occurring even with a zero tolerance for racism, discrimination and bullying within the arenas. Kids need to be safe in any arena across Canada.
Sports can provide First Nations with many positive opportunities and can bridge gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. However, because of the remoteness in First Nations communities, many First Nations children are unable to participate in sports, unlike many Canadians. The government has provided $9M to promote sports within Indigenous communities, however, the funding is not being provided to Indigenous communities directly, but is being provided to 'Right to Play'. The single parent or those families without vehicles, etc., are not provided with the supports needed for their children to participate in organized sport.
First Nations Children, Youth & Families
There is a need to eradicate inequalities that First Nations children, youth and families face. January 26, 2019 will mark the 3rd anniversary of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) that is supposed to end discrimination for First Nations children services.
Canada needs to adopt the Spirit Bear Plan to address colonialism and inequality. The Plan outlines recommendations on how to address some of those inequalities. Jordan's Principle also has to be considered. There have been 210,000 products and services provided to First Nations children and families because of the implementation of Jordan's Principle. These do not include luxury items but are life and death types of services. The Spirit Bear Plan has to be adopted to remove the racial discrimination that First Nations children and their families face every day. There has been some research done on the positive impacts of addressing just that one gap.
First Nations youth have to be given an opportunity to lead now. There is a need to develop the potential in young people now so that they become experts in every field.
Racism in schools needs to be addressed and institutional racism within universities has to end. The education system has to be decolonized. In residential schools, Indigenous children were being told they were pagans, heathens and inferior people. That same message was being delivered in public schools across the country, to non-Indigenous children. That messaging has not yet been reversed. Indigenous people continue to deal with the negative impacts of residential schools and the current education system.
Indigenous knowledge is discounted in post-secondary institutions. Indigenous knowledge is passed down orally and through Elders. Somehow that is considered 'less than' written knowledge and pedagogies. There is also a devaluing of First Nations knowledge and perspectives in the K-12 education system. Racism also exists with respect to low expectations for First Nations learners.
At Dalhousie University, the School of Law reserves 12 seats in its program for Mi'qmaq and Black students. Supports are provided to these students throughout the program and the program helps to prevent discrimination and systemic racism in the legal justice system. However, racism is directed to those individuals participating in the Access Program and there is a stigma that these individuals are not qualified or smart enough to participate in the School of Law. There is a need to create more Access Programs in order to combat racism, however, it seems to create more racism.
There is no national policy on education within the public education system. In addition, K-12 is left to the discretion of the provinces and territories. The public education system is not serving the needs of First Nation students. Many First Nations communities do not have the capacity to provide services to address the negative social and emotional consequences that many learners face.
The K-12 system tends to get 'stuck' in trying to fix First Nations children, however, it is the system that needs to be fixed, not the child. In addition, education of all non-Indigenous people within that system has to occur, both adults and students. Some provinces and territories are doing it better than others, but pervasive racism is still rampant across the country and imbedded within every aspect of Canadian society. There is so much learning that non-Indigenous people have to undertake.
Racism is learned, whether at home or through friends. The education system is not doing enough to celebrate diversity at an early age; to teach about acceptance, tolerance and diversity. There is a need to change the Canadian history that is taught in schools; to change the narrative. Nova Scotia has started working on revising the curriculum. However, there is a need for a national strategy to change the education curriculum across the country. The AFN should also be involved in that process. To date, there are only four (4) provinces (SK, MB, NS, BC) that are in the process of revising their curriculum, which is an issue.
In the 1980's a human rights complaint was filed against corporations to ensure that they were hiring First Nations employees. First Nations leaders have broken down barriers for First Nations and have created change, however, sometimes those changes amount to token gestures which set First Nations up to fail. Real change has to be lasting, legitimate and sincere.
Canada's Action Plan Against Racism
Canada's Action Plan Against Racism is a good foundational document, however, it does not include any disaggregated data. It collects raced-based data, but does not include anything like sex, gender, age, marital status, nor does it capture data across Indigenous and Black communities.
The Action Plan does not consider targeted and focused areas, such as potential areas for partnership. For example, organizations and communities could partner with Special Investigation Units, whether provincial or federal. Justice is one issue identified by partners that is so systemically racist and discriminatory against Indigenous peoples.
Patriarchy and hetero-normativity fosters transphobia. There is a lack of understanding of gender expression and gender equity in Canada. This issue should be included in Canada's Anti-Racism Action Plan.
There is a lack of data with respect to the effects of anti-Indigenous racism. There is not a lot of information where evidence provides proof of racism. Everyone knows that racism exists.
Child Welfare System
The overrepresentation of Indigenous youth in the child welfare system is an issue. There is a need to establish new markers for anti-racism within the child welfare system.
First Nations are fighting to change the child welfare system and have First Nations children returned to their families. There is a need for greater First Nation influence in the child welfare system.
From 2008 to 2016, 546 children died in the system and that was just in Manitoba. There are 1.1 million people in Manitoba and 11,000 children are in care; 90% of those children are Indigenous with the majority being First Nations. It was noted that 88% of inmates in Stony Mountain Penitentiary were former children in care. In addition, the majority of the First Nations homeless population in Manitoba were former children in care.
The most visible and most enforceable form of racism comes from police forces across Canada. There have been several incidents where members of the Fort Albany First Nation were killed, for example. The first was an incident in Timmins, where a 21-year old First Nations man with schizophrenia was killed by police officers. Another incident involved a 62-year old First Nations grandmother, who was assaulted by police and ended up dying in her police cell. In the last 1.5 months, two (2) First Nations women have died on the streets. These people needed help, but there was no help for them.
The racism and discrimination that police have for First Nations is an issue. The examples of the activities of police forces in Val d'Or, QC and in Thunder Bay, ON speak to that issue.
In Val d'Or, 37 Indigenous women filed complaints against non-Indigenous police officers and only two (2) cases went to court. There should be zero tolerance when it comes to police officers abusing their authority. The women in Val d'Or are now being incriminated for defamation of character of those police officers, turning the women into criminals because they filed complaints against the police officers. They are the victims, but are being criminalized.
First Nations need safe and secure communities but police are failing them. Police forces are prejudiced and racist and many First Nations do not feel safe dealing with police. The government continues to underfund policing, as it does with education, health, housing, etc. It is difficult for First Nations to flourish when they are struggling just to access small pots of funding.
The community of Kahnwake does not accept outside policing in its territory. The community has Peacekeepers and they are protectors of the village and their responsibilities go beyond policing. First Nations policing is doing a phenomenal job, despite being underfunded in all aspects of policing, i.e. salaries, training. First Nations policing can do a lot for First Nations communities, if afforded the proper resources and training. There is a need to have fair and equitable, effective and appropriate policing for First Nations across the country.
There is a need to 'turn off the tap' when it comes to Indigenous youth. Often, Indigenous youth will become involved in the justice system on the provincial side and eventually the federal side. Anytime an Indigenous youth is sentenced, consideration should be given to Gladue factors, like residential school, child welfare systems and the justice system.
There is also a need to establish new markers for anti-racism to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous youth in the criminal justice system. The Youth Justice Act should be reformed and look at incarceration as well as providing wrap-around services for youth by lawyers, police officers and social workers. Children's counsel for Indigenous children in care also needs to be put in place.
There is a need to think about what individuals, particularly judges, in the justice system know and do not know about Indigenous people, as non-Indigenous people. These individuals might engage in racist analysis, which is no different than many other non-Indigenous Canadians. It is not the intent to blame individuals for what they do not know in the absence of information and the culture in which they were raised. It is natural and reasonable for these individuals to have distorted thinking about who First Nations are. It also renders them incapable of honouring the preconditions of justice, whether or not they come to it with entirely honourable intentions. The preconditions of justice would have had to be instilled since birth; they don't know what they don't know and don't know what they haven't seen through their education, families, experiences, etc.
The Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba found that at every level of the criminal justice system, wherever discretion was exercised, Aboriginal people did not benefit. This could include the over-policing or under-policing of Indigenous women; at the bail hearing stage, where Indigenous people have generated some system breaches and are not able to get bail; at the sentencing stage where the Crown has discretion. There is systemic discrimination within Canada's justice system.
Litigation is a dangerous and inefficient method to address racism and discrimination because the outcomes are unpredictable. Judges, lawyers, social workers, police officers are at the pinnacle of decision-making within the justice system. They have so much leverage within the system. They have to be made aware of how Canadian society has failed them and not provided them with the necessary learnings from infancy so that they are not agents of racism and discrimination. There is so much education that needs to happen with non-Indigenous people.
Racism is so rampant in the justice system and there is a need for measures of accountability for people being racist. One instance occurred when a 14-year old First Nations boy was a victim of racism in a public playground. The crime should have been considered a hate crime, however, the Winnipeg police were not equipped to address that. If First Nations are going to be incarcerated because of elements of racism that brought them into conflict with the law, there should be accountability and measures taken for those who are being racist. There has to be repercussions.
Mental health must be addressed. Braiden Jacob was a 17-year old First Nations boy from Webequie First Nation who had to travel to Thunder Bay to access mental health services. He ended up being murdered while in Thunder Bay. There are a lack of connections in cities for First Nations clients who have to travel thousands of miles to access mental health services. These First Nations are not finding cultural safety in the cities. There is a need to address cultural safety and increase mental wellness services within First Nations communities.
There are a lack of services available in First Nations communities and there is a need for greater health transformation and funding so that First Nations can deliver their own services within their own regions.
There is strong evidence of racism within the health care system and that is systemic right across Canada. It is the same situation of disproportionate equity for First Nations compared to the rest of Canada; from substandard housing, to non-potable water to food security.
These issues are directly related to the social determinants of health. Anti-racism and cultural safety are needed across all health systems in Canada. That relates directly to Call to Action 19 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada.
There is also discrimination in First Nations communities against women, young girls and children. There is also hate and jealousy in communities and healing has to begin within communities.
Housing that is being built in First Nations communities are not up to standards. When communities are planning, engineers and architects are planning substandard communities based on ISC or CMHC policies. The housing in First Nations communities needs to be equivalent to those houses being built across Canada.
Two-Spirit, Non-Binary, Transgender People
Racism enforces a colonial, strict male-female gender binary. Because of that, there is distinct violence that two-spirited, non-binary and transgender people experience, from bullying to missing and to being murdered.
There is a colonial, hetero-patriarchy and white supremacy in Canada. The Constitution is one of the main areas where colonial harms begin. There is also the Indian Act and other legislation that contributes as well. The Constitution does not include sexuality, gender or gender interpretation and that leaves the two-spirited, non-binary and transgender community vulnerable to facing violent situations, including sexual and physical assault. There is also an underreporting of police violence, transphobia and homophobia.
The department needs to take a gender based plus analysis approach. The AFN also needs to take the same approach in order to eradicate transphobia and homophobia. When looking at why young people are committing suicide, there is a need to look at their gender and sexuality requirements. If not, the data will be skewed. Coroner's reports also need to have its own gender-based analysis plus as well as policing. The Ontario Human Rights Commission has gender-based and sexuality-based analysis. Ontario also has its own anti-racism data standards which is useful in making the public service more anti-racist.
Black communities also face high incarceration rates, death and murders across Canada. It would be strategic to work outside of the siloes and build alliances to address both ant-Blackness and anti-Indigenous racism across the country.
First Nations have to stand up for the little ones, because if they do not, the children will be overrun. First Nations have to stand up for their ancestral lands because if they do not, that land will be taken. The fight against racism can never cease. Complacency fosters racism. The government and police refer to 'the law of the land' but never refer to Mother Earth.
Addressing racism has to begin in our homes and in our communities. It is everyone's responsibility to address racism. First Nations also need to give non-Indigenous people a chance and opportunity to work together in partnership to address racism.
Real power begins with economic power. When First Nations can pay for their own services that are currently underfunded, through sole source revenues, they will be able to go to a negotiating table as true partners. They will be able to dictate the terms of how they want to participate. Many First Nations are stuck in poverty. Even on-reserve, lands are held by the Crown. Inherently racist policies and regulations keep First Nations in poverty. However, that is changing and First Nations now own the land that they live on. Some First Nations are making concrete steps to address those inequalities.
The participants were informed that the discussion would continue after the session. The department left contact information where additional information, submissions, research, comments, recommendations, etc., could be provided for inclusion and consideration in the engagement process.
The Honourable Pablo Rodríguez, Minister, Department of Canadian Heritage
Minister Rodríguez thanked the participants for attending the session and sharing their experiences. He noted that the government had much to learn from First Nations and it was important for him to be at the session. He mentioned that he spoke to the Prime Minister and his colleagues on a regular basis as he was leading the anti-racism engagement process, however was working in collaboration with the Ministers of Justice, ISC and Health. Additional departments were also involved.
Minister Rodríguez said he believed in consultation and he believed in action. The engagement sessions will result in a detailed anti-racism plan with clear benchmarks and objectives as well as ways to measure those benchmarks. It will be important to evaluate both the plan and the capacity, including funding, to implement the plan.
He mentioned that the Indigenous Languages Act was under his portfolio as well. Minister Rodríguez said that UNESCO declared 2019 the Year of Indigenous Languages. The Indigenous Languages Bill will be tabled in the next two (2) weeks. Minister Rodríguez said that the two (2) Bills (Indigenous Languages and Anti-Racism) were his priorities and he wanted to ensure that the Bills and Programs were put in place.
Ghislain Picard, AFN Regional Chief, Québec/Labrador
Regional Chief Picard thanked the participants for attending the meeting and for their inspiring comments. He thanked the Minister for attending the meeting as well. He said he was not surprised by any of the stories shared because those were realities that First Nations faced in all regions.
He noted that many participants spoke about the political relationship with the current government and how that relationship needs to be strengthened. Justice and policing also seem to be key issues, as well as First Nations children.
Regional Chief Picard acknowledged that everyone was anxious to see what the proposed Bill for Indigenous Languages would include. That was also a priority for him because it was so important for the future of First Nations.
In 2015, the Chiefs adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and it is important that, as leaders, they live by those commitments. The reality of the LGBTQ and Two-Spirited people are important and their realities have to be acknowledged within First Nations communities as well. Regional Chief Picard said that he participated in the Pride Parade in Montreal last year, because as leaders, they had to exercise their role to the fullest and be responsive to their entire community.
Regional Chief Picard acknowledged the time the participants took to attend the meeting, although the meeting was brief, the dialogue and the issue were so important. His message to the Minister, departmental staff and government was that they had a responsibility to ensure that there was proper follow-up, as did the AFN.
He said that racism and discrimination impacts everyone and there are many situations that are both concerning and disturbing all across the country. First Nations have to invest in, not only the collective efforts, but often individual efforts as well, to change attitudes. It is an uphill battle, but First Nations can find the proper alliances and allies to take on that challenge. Regional Chief Picard said that his work within his region includes educating the people around him. It is important and key in terms of making sure people understand First Nations.
He spoke of a recent alliance in 2017 when Montreal was celebrating 375 years of existence. The AFNQL worked closely with the City and Mayor to ensure Indigenous people were included in the celebrations. The City of Montreal formally acknowledged UNDRIP within its decision-making process and changed its flag to include a symbol representing First Nations people. Regional Chief Picard said that as people in public office, they have a responsibility to bring issues forward that are important to the people they represent and they serve. That included First Nations leadership as well as Ministers and public servants. He thanked the participants once again and wished everyone a safe journey home.
Elder Ed Sackaney closed the meeting with a prayer.
Appendix B: Inuit session summary report
Summary report to follow.
Appendix C: Métis Nation session summary report
(Provided by the Métis National Council)
In 2018, Canada embarked on a cross-country engagement to develop a new federal anti-racism strategy. The purpose of this engagement was to seek recommendations from Canadians, especially those with lived experiences of racism and discrimination.
The Métis Nation participated in this engagement. On November 15, 2018 at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) in Winnipeg, Manitoba representatives of the Métis Nation and Canada gathered for a private session with the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism.
Both the date and the place of the Canada-Métis Nation session was significant. The date of the session came one day before the anniversary of the November 16, 1885 hanging execution of Métis leader Louis Riel. And the venue was equally symbolic. The CMHR sits on the historic homeland of the Métis Nation and from the museum’s observation tower both the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, the remains of Fort Garry and the gravesite of Louis Riel can be seen.
Minister Rodriguez recognized the traditional land on which the meeting was being held, and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which acknowledged so many past wrongs. He extended appreciation for the Opening Prayer and song, and for the information on the significance of the fiddle to the Métis Nation and the upcoming anniversary of the November 16, 1885 death of Louis Riel.
The Minister welcomed the opportunity to listen, learn and talk about how to address systemic racism and discrimination. Although fighting racism was a long-term process, discussions were needed on how to make a difference that would benefit future generations.
Those present at the session including Métis Nation community members and elected political representatives all spoke of the many racist policies and programs that have impacted and caused significant trauma to Métis peoples and their families. From 1816 to the present there have many transgressions against Métis peoples in the Homeland including the following:
- 1816 • The Battle of Seven Oaks
- 1875-1924 • Northwest Half-Breed Scrip Commission
- 1869-1870 • Red River Resistance
- 1885 • Battle of Batoche, culminating in the November 16, 1885 hanging of Louis Riel
- Indian Residential Schools and Day Schools
- Sixties Scoop and Adopt Indian Métis (AIM)
Both the Sixties Scoop and AIM - the “Adopt Indian Métis” (AIM) program sought to assimilate Indigenous children by uprooting them from their families, and isolating them from their culture, language and communities. During the November 15th session, the Minister was presented with a copy of Sixties Scoop survivor Dr. Jacqueline Maurice’s book, “The Lost Children”, which included many stories of Métis children taken from their families. The Minister was urged to seek to incorporate the sixties scoop experience in the core content of Canadian schools.
MMF President Chartrand referenced books that conveyed some of the traumas the Métis people had experienced, including:
- “Preserving Our Past - St. Madeline, Manitoba”, by Elder George Fleury, which provided a firsthand account of government’s decision to burn down an entire Métis village in the 1930s to make space for a cow pasture
- “Rooster Town: The History of an Urban Métis Community, 1901-1961”, by Evelyn Peters, Matthew Stock and Adrian Werner, which explained how Métis people were chased off their lands and forced to live in shacks on the edge of the city to make space for a shopping mall.
The impact of the 1869 and 1885 Metis resistance movements was that in the years following the resistance many Metis families were mercilessly subjected to increased discrimination and prejudice by Canadian citizens. The animosity felt towards the Metis by many settlers was vehemently demonstrated through verbal and physical assaults on Metis individuals and families. Subsequently, in the years following 1885 many Metis families became culturally invisible in an effort to protect themselves from the constant threat of persecution. In this way Metis people would come to participate in their cultural activities privately within the safety of their households and would be hesitant to practice their traditions in the presence of outsiders. For some Metis this particular time in history is referred to as the Dark Period and represents a fear on the part of Metis people at having their traditions and belief systems derided.
What eventually ended this period of cultural quietness was the participation of young Metis men in the First and Second World Wars. As was the case for many First Nations men, when Canada issued a declaration of war in 1914 and then again in 1939, an impressive number of Metis men volunteered to defend their country. Despite having been treated poorly by the Canadian government, many Metis men felt comfortable in militaristic roles, having been descended from those who fought consistently in the protection of Metis communities. In 1939, Metis families like all Canadian families were still recovering from the Great Depression and joining the military was one way that young men could support their families financially. Upon returning home, however, Metis veterans were quick to realize that despite having bravely served their country, their families remained in poverty and continued to be subjected to discrimination. From this emerged a deep ceded bitterness in the hearts of many Metis which would foster a political re-awakening in the years to follow.
In 1960, after years of petitioning by Aboriginal leaders, the Canadian government under Prime Minister John Diefenbaker finally extended the right to vote in federal elections to First Nations people considered Indians under the Indian Act. While this change in legislation was welcomed by Aboriginal people it did little to alleviate the discontent in Aboriginal communities. Despite having entered into treaty with the Canadian government in 1870 with the signing of the Manitoba Act, and the creation of subsequent scrip commissions, Metis lands had been occupied by settlers and communities had been scattered. Generations of Metis people had struggled to maintain their distinct culture and traditions in the wake of diaspora, settler violence and poverty. With the rise of the civil rights movement in the United States, Metis communities saw an opportunity to enter once again into a dialogue with the federal government over the infringement of their Aboriginal rights.
The 1970’s saw the rise of a group of Metis authors and activists who published books that provided Metis narratives and experiences on living in Canada. In 1973 Maria Campbell published her seminal work entitled “Halfbreed” which depicted the challenges of maintaining dignity in the face of colonial policies aimed at silencing the Metis people. In 1975 Howard Adams, a Metis rights activist published “Prison of Grass: Canada from a Native Point of View” which provides, as does Campbell’s work, an alternative Metis reality to the overarching national narratives so often heard in history texts. Works such as these served to empower an entire generation of Metis people who sought to have their rights acknowledged by Canada.
Such a nation to nation dialogue had not been had between Metis people and Canada since the time of Louis Riel, but the atmosphere of social change created during the sixties and seventies prompted Metis communities to once again fight for the recognition of their inherent rights.
The Minister was urged to consider:
- The importance of the Métis Nation having a mandate and jurisdiction over the Métis people
- Government’s relationships established with First Nations Bands and Councils, which should be similarly established with the Métis Nation governments
- What would have happened to the Métis people if they had been allowed to live on and harvest their lands; taking their lands robbed them of their future economic engines; meanwhile, Manitoba’s Mennonite community was given 586,000 acres of land to live on and farm.
MMF President Chartrand acknowledged how so many had interfered with the operations of Métis families, who were categorized as “poor” or “non-Indigenous”. During the sixties scoop, countless Métis children were taken from their families and sold for adoption in Canada and in the United States. Many of these children cannot come home now, as they are American citizens. The country is working too slowly to correct this wrong and to help find these children. He acknowledged that unless efforts were made to stop racism, it would continue to re-occur. Ideologies needed to change before discriminating policies could be stopped.
The National Aboriginal Advisory Committee (NAAC) provides advice and recommendations to the Commissioner of the RCMP on the provision of correctional services to Indigenous offenders. The Métis Nation’s representative on the NAAC reported back to the Métis Nation on the issues she observed. In one instance, an incarcerated Métis man took his own life after suffering 19 months in solitary confinement.
Government’s continued apprehension of Métis children must stop. A moratorium was needed, as there are other answers. A Métis-led task force could be assigned to address this further, as a follow up to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s efforts. MMF President Chartrand recalled the October 2018 Métis Nation Sixties Scoop Symposium, at which attendees shared some devastating stories of abuse after being apprehended from their families. He urged the Minister to consider why this was ever allowed to happen.
MNC President Chartier commended the speakers for sharing their important testimonies. He recalled attending residential school as a child and being able to go home to his family for Christmas holidays and the summer. When residential schools began, there were First Nations and Métis students. At the time, federal government paid the schools more for First Nations children, so Métis children ate poorly and were confined to play on a playground surrounded by barbed wire. Métis students suffered the same physical, sexual and emotion abuses that First Nations students suffered. The traumas impacted everyone.
MMF President Chartrand added that the sixties scoop and residential schools were examples of racism led by the Canadian government. Additionally, the Métis veterans were promised the same benefits as other veterans when they returned home but have still not been settled with. It is difficult to comprehend how racism will be overcome, when the country continues to discriminate against the Métis people, who helped to create this country. Additionally, it was noted that while the Department of Justice had been reluctant to refer to “Métis Nation” in legislation, there was no hesitation to refer to “First Nation” in legislation.
President Chartier extended thanks to delegates for participating and contributing to the discussion. The Minister was encouraged to mindful of the history of the Métis people and the traumas they continued to endure, and to advocate at the Cabinet table, in terms of pursuing an educational component on the history of the Métis Nation.
Minister Rodriguez extended thanks for the difficult stories shared and the words spoken. He explained that the session had changed his life. Before the meeting, he thought he knew more than he did. While listening to the delegate’s comments, he reflected back to traumas he experienced in his own childhood before his family fled from Argentina. Despite surviving the journey to a new country where he did not speak the language, he was privileged to have his parents.
The Minister concluded by affirming his commitment to do whatever he could, to make a difference and to seek to make changes.
Appendix D: Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami submission
(Provided by Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami)
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) is the national representative organization for the 65,000 Inuit in Canada, the majority of whom live in Inuit Nunangat (Inuvialuit Settlement Region in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik in Northern Quebec, and Nunatsiavut in Northern Labrador). Inuit Nunangat encompasses 51 communities and makes up nearly one third of Canada's landmass and 50 percent of its coastline. Consistent with its founding purpose, ITK supports Inuit self-determination at the national level through a democratic governance structure that represents all four Inuit regions.
Effects of Systematic Racism on Inuit and across Inuit Nunangat:
Inuit have experienced unique form of colonialism and invisibility vis-a-vis Canada. Like other indigenous peoples, the colonial experience for Inuit is rooted in the persistent denial of Inuit self-determination, as well as the fundamental human rights of Inuit. For most of the early decades of Confederation, the twin legacies of colonialism and invisibility meant that Canada neglected most of Inuit Nunangat, allowing Inuit to preserve language and culture while most indigenous peoples in southern Canada grappled with a collection of assimilationist policies This also means that in recent decades Inuit have been forced to rapidly adapt to the changing political, economic, legal, cultural and linguistic landscape introduced by Canada, facing aggressive colonial conduct over a period of decades, rather than centuries. The shock of all these drastic and challenging changes have created and perpetuated ongoing social and economic inequalities for Inuit. Racism takes many forms in Inuit Nunangat, ranging from direct and systematic racism to a legacy of colonialism which undermines Inuit self-determination and devalues the human and constitutional rights of Inuit.
Racism is linked to Colonialism:
Inuit experience many different forms of racism and marginalization, which overlap and intersect. Any meaningful attempt to address racism impacting Inuit must address all layers of marginalization and discrimination experienced by Inuit. The sum total of these layers has often contributed to extreme social and economic disparities between Inuit and non-Inuit. The following infographic, as shown on the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami web page, outlines many of the disparities between Inuit and non-Inuit.
Attempting to address these social and economic barriers without addressing the underlying forms of marginalization which created these disparities would likely expand the existing social and economic inequalities within Inuit Nunangat and between Inuit Nunangat and the rest of Canada. In other words, an effective anti-racism strategy is a necessary pre-condition for effective economic, social and health investments and interventions.
Any federal strategy which addresses the impacts of systemic racism and colonialism must provide focus on the effects of colonization on Inuit women. The impacts of colonialism on Inuit women was the focus of the "Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami Final written submission on the national Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls".Footnote 1 The final written report also provides recommendations. A few of those key areas include but are not limited to:
- Distinctions based approach/Inuit Specific Solutions
- Infrastructure Gaps and Social and Economic Inequities
- Access to Health Care throughout Inuit Nunangat
History of Inuit invisibility has led to pan-aboriginal policies which exclude Inuit:
Racial discrimination, systematic racism and invisibility have been hallmarks of Canadian law and policy since 1867. Inuit were not present at the Constitutional negotiations that created Canada's British North America Act, 1867. Inuit were not present nor even considered during the grant of federal legislative authority in relation to 'Indians and lands reserved for the Indians'.
As a result of Inuit invisibility, Inuit fell into a jurisdictional void for several decades. Federal, provincial and territorial governments never considered whether Inuit were within federal or provincial jurisdiction until a reference case in 1939. Even after the determination that the federal government had legislative authority in relation to Inuit, one of the first exercises of jurisdiction with respect to Inuit was an amendment to the Indian Act, clarifying Inuit fall outside the scope of the Act and maintaining a legal void for social economic and health programming related to Inuit.
To this day, many federal policies and programs exclude Inuit because they are designed to operate 'on-reserve', a criteria which can only be applied to First Nations. Using the existing service delivery models and governance structures contemplated by the Indian Act, or generally operable in the context of First Nations, serves to exclude Inuit. In other cases, the fact that many Inuit are either unilingual, or have limited ability in either of Canada's official languages, serves as a barrier to accessing federal programs and services.
Each Inuit region has negotiated modern treaties with Canada. As a consequence, Inuit do not experience discrimination from the failure to recognize Inuit rights, but rather from the failure to implement those rights, whether they are enshrined in constitutionally protected treaties, in legislation or in policy instruments.
In order to be responsive to the distinct impacts of direct and systemic racism on Inuit, a national anti-racism strategy should incorporate the following recommendations:
- human rights based approach to systemic racism
- Inuit specific policies and programming to address racism
- Review of existing national, provincial and territorial racism strategies
- Policy Screen to ensure new Policies and Programs address racism
- Implementation of National Inquiry on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls Final Report
1. Adopt a human rights based approach to systemic racism
The persistence of failure to implement treaty rights and the growing gaps in social, economic and health indicators are not isolated instances of discrete issues, but rather part of a pattern of human rights abuses. Any effort to address these gaps can only be accomplished if Canada commits to the full implementation of its own human rights obligations.
There are several implications associated with adopting a human rights-based approach to a national anti-racism strategy. First, simply by recognizing the inter-related, interdependent and mutually reinforcing nature of human rights means that a federal strategy should be closely tied to related strategies, particularly those aimed at eliminating the social and economic gap between Inuit and non-Inuit, implementation of treaty rights and distinctions-based approaches to policy development. This includes more than simply recognizing that there exist gaps in social, economic and health outcomes, or that constitutional rights are often unimplemented, but rather a commitment to provide redress for discrimination leading to such disparities.
Second, adopting a human rights based approach requires recognition that Inuit have a right to exist in Canada, free of discrimination. Canada should provide avenues for legal redress when violations of those rights are alleged by Inuit. This could involve expanding the scope of administrative or judicial forums capable of providing redress, as well as improving general access to justice initiatives for Inuit.
2. Inuit Specific Federal Polices and Programming:
One means of ensuring that the multiple and unique layers of marginalization which are faced by Inuit can be addressed is by ensuring an Inuit specific approach to systemic racism, and to Canadian policy and programming more generally.
Even something as simple as a formatting change through the federal budget process, which disaggregates federal funding and identifies Inuit specific budget initiatives. This increases accountability of federal spending for Inuit, for public governments and for Canadians. Most important, the identification of Inuit-specific measures increases the likelihood that the Inuit-specific dimensions of broader problems impacting indigenous peoples, such as income inequality and social and economic disparities.
3. A National Scan of All Existing Anti-Racism Strategies:
One early step of a national anti-racism strategy would be a review of anti-racism policies and ameliorative measures across federal departments, as well as provincial and territorial governments. These measures and policies should be immediately reviewed to ensure they reflect a distinctions-based approach and reflect measures which are capable of addressing the unique forms of marginalization faced by Inuit as well as broader and more general forms of racism experienced by Inuit and other indigenous or racialized peoples. A comprehensive report relating to federal, provincial and territorial anti-racism strategies should be produced annually to measure progress, to identify areas of complementary between strategies and to make recommendations to improve the application and relevance of these strategies to Inuit.
4. All New Policies and Practices are Screened by the Government in Conjunction with Inuit to Ensure the Policies Contain Special Measures to Address Systematic Racist Practices:
Canada should create new screening mechanisms to ensure new policies and programs. Canada should implement a screen on its Memorandum to Cabinet template, to ensure all new policies considered by Cabinet include an express analysis of the impact of any given policy to contribute to the achievement of substantive equality. For any policy impacting Inuit Nunangat, that screen should specify how the policy will lead to substantive equality for Inuit in Inuit Nunangat.
Treasury Board should similarly develop a screen to ensure that proposals for all new programs and regulations contribute to substantive equality for indigenous peoples, and more specifically for Inuit in Inuit Nunangat. Finally, the Department of Finance should develop a screen to ensure that all intergovernmental transfers and agreements require reporting from provinces and territories on how such instruments will contribute to the achievement of substantive equality for indigenous peoples.
Each of these screens should be developed jointly between Inuit and relevant federal departments. In addition, federal departments should report publicly on an annual basis with respect to the effectiveness of such screens.
5. Implementation of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Recommendations released in April 2019 that are specific to Inuit
The Federal Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls spoke to community members, survivors, experts and knowledge keepers to understand the systematic racism that perpetuates inequity throughout Inuit communities in the north and in the south. The final report along with the recommendations will be released in April 2019. There will be Inuit specific recommendations within the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls final report which should be incorporated within the national anti-racism strategy.
Appendix E: In-person forums
Regional ministerial and community forums
- Toronto (October 9, 2018)
- Markham (October 10, 2018)
- Brampton (October 11, 2018
- Kitchener-Waterloo (October 12, 2018)
- Montreal (October 25, 2018)
- Vancouver (November 1, 2018)
- Surrey (November 2, 2018)
- Winnipeg (November 13, 2018)
- Calgary (November 14, 2018)
- Saskatoon (November 15, 2018)
- Edmonton (November 16, 2018)
- Ottawa (December 6, 2018)
- Halifax (December 10, 2018)
- Toronto (January 11, 2019)
- Thunder Bay (January 15, 2019)
- Victoria (January 22, 2019)
- Hamilton (January 23, 2019)
- Prince George (January 23, 2019)
- Quebec City (February 6, 2019)
- Métis – Winnipeg (November 15, 2018)
- First Nations – Montreal (January 24, 2019)
- Inuit – Iqaluit (March 4, 2019)
Appendix F: Anti-Racism Engagement online survey findings
Prepared by Delaney + Associates
Background and methodology
In 2018-2019 Canadian Heritage led a national engagement to support the development of a federal anti-racism strategy.
Engagement scope and engagement design
The three pillars of the engagement on which input was to be collected included: employment and income support, justice, and social participation.
The engagement design included both in-person and online components. The in-person component was comprised of National Ministerial Forums, Regional Forums, Community Forums and Stakeholder Meetings. The online component was comprised of an engagement platform, an online survey and written submissions.
This report summarizes the findings from the online survey, which was open to the public. Feedback was received between October 16, 2018 and January 21, 2019.
In total, 866 respondents answered at least one of the six survey questions. Response rates were as follows:
- Question 1 — Employment: What factors do you think have contributed to the racism you or your community have experienced, specifically as it pertains to employment?
- Number of responses: 850
- Question 2 — Employment: What can the federal government do to better address racism and discrimination in these areas?
- Number of responses: 769
- Question 3 —Justice: What factors do you think have contributed to the racism you or your community have experienced, specifically as it pertains to justice?
- Number of responses: 690
- Question 4 — Justice: What can the federal government do to better address racism and discrimination in these areas?
- Number of responses: 661
- Question 5 — Social Participation: What factors do you think have contributed to the racism you or your community have experienced, specifically as it pertains to social participation (e.g. accessing the arts, sports, etc)?
- Number of responses: 602
- Question 6 — Social Participation: What can the federal government do to better address racism and discrimination in these areas?
- Number of responses: 571
Participant demographic information
The average age was 44, and just over six in ten were women. Most respondents were from Ontario. A comparison to 2016 census numbers for Canadians aged 16 and over shows that:
Respondents skewed generally younger than the adult population, with half (49%) between 25 and 44 (compared to 32% nationally) and only 9% in the 65+ age category (compared to 21% nationally;
Women were over-represented (70% of respondents; 51% of Canadians), compared to men (25% of respondents; 49% of Canadians).
Regionally, Quebec was under-represented (6% of respondents, 23% of Canadians, with BC (17% vs 13%) and Nova Scotia (10% vs 3%) most notably over-represented.
Most participants (96%) responded to the questions in English. The majority (55%) came from urban centers, with 29% living in suburban areas and 16% in rural Canada. Many had no religious affiliation (38%), with about that same number identifying with a Christian faith. One in twenty were Muslim.
Survey participants were also asked about their ethnicity. Just over 500 responses were received, with many identifying as a racialized person. As this was an open-ended question, many different responses were received. Due to this, data-aggregation could not take place by ethnicity. The following chapters highlight the main feedback themes for each of the six survey questions.
The top factor that participants mentioned to have contributed to the racism they or their community have experienced as it pertains to employment was stereotyping/bias (such as racial, ethnic) by employers or colleagues, mentioned in some form by one in five respondents.
Two factors were mentioned by around one in six respondents: systemic or institutional racism that typically goes beyond experiences with individuals but rather addresses racism on a larger scale within a place of employment; and ignorance or lack of education.
Factors or experiences mentioned by around one in ten respondents included:
- Lack of job or promotion opportunities
- Skin colour or visible identifiers (e.g. hijab)
- Non euro-centric name on resume
- Intolerance or bigotry
Around one in twenty mentioned:
- Colonial or imperial history or impacts of slavery
- Lack of training or education opportunities
- Media bias or misrepresentation
- Lack of foreign credential recognition or requiring Canadian experience
- Underestimation of skills or knowledge
The top recommendation for the federal government to better address racism and discrimination related to employment, was to provide more education and build awareness of the issues, and more specifically, to provide or fund training or courses on topics such as diversity, sensitivity or cultural awareness. This was mentioned by a third of participants. Others said that the government should increase public awareness or launch promotional campaigns.
A secondary recommendation, mentioned by about three in ten respondents, was related to hiring practices. This included calls for employment equity / increasing of hiring of racialized people and Indigenous Peoples, for the federal government to focus on or advocate for inclusive practices for hiring or HR, such as blind recruitment processes, as well as to promote diversity on committees or (hiring) boards. In this same theme, there were those who said that the government could incentivize employers to recruit Indigenous Peoples and racialized people.
One in ten respondents said that there should be zero tolerance for racism, or harsh penalties. Related to this were calls for auditing or monitoring of businesses for discriminatory practices, for stronger laws against discrimination and better enforcement of laws.
Around one in twenty mentioned:
- Address poverty or socioeconomic or wealth distribution factors
- Better education or training opportunities for Indigenous Peoples and racialized people
- Acknowledge systemic racism or white privilege exists
- Provide support for employees or candidates who face discrimination
- Convene or fund public forums or discussions
- Address historical injustices towards Indigenous Peoples and racialized people
- Collect disaggregated data on demographics or conduct studies
- Provide funding to organizations or communities doing anti-racism work
The top three factors that participants mentioned to have contributed to the racism they or their community have experienced as it pertains to justice, were each mentioned by about one in five respondents.
The first factor related to stereotyping, profiling or bias in general.
The second factor were mentions of police harassment / targeting or carding of racialized communities or Indigenous Peoples.
The third factor included mentions of discrimination within police agencies and courts, often due to (perceived) ignorance or lack of education, with specific mentions of inadequate anti-discrimination training for police and judges.
Secondary factors, mentioned by about one in ten participants, were:
- Systemic racism
- Differences in sentencing between different groups
Around one in twenty mentioned:
- Disproportionate incarceration of racialized or Indigenous
- Negative portrayal in media or news
- Lack of diversity or representation in institutions
- Colonial or imperial history
- Inadequate repercussions for racism or no accountability
- Assumptions of guilt
The top recommendations, together accounting for almost four in ten responses, were for the government to provide or support education or awareness in general, and better cultural sensitivity/diversity training of police, jurors, guards, etc. in particular.
Secondary recommendations, mentioned by about one in ten respondents, were:
- Increase Indigenous Peoples' and racialized communities' representation
- Zero tolerance for racism or more accountability or harsh penalties
- Equal treatment of everyone
- Acknowledge racism or white privilege exists
Other recommendations, each made by about one in twenty participants, included:
- Consult with Indigenous Peoples and racialized people for their perspective
- Independent review or monitoring of all levels of justice for racism or inequity
- Address poverty or improve living conditions or affordable housing for marginalized or racialized or Indigenous communities
- End carding or racial profiling
- More focus on restorative justice or rehabilitation
- Collect disaggregated data on demographics or conduct studies
On social participation, the top factor that participants mentioned to have contributed to the racism they or their community have experienced, was financial (i.e. lack of resources, poverty, financial barriers.) This was mentioned by about one in three participants. In this same theme, there were also mentions of lack of or underfunding by governments, as well as inequitable funding, for example because programs in arts and sports are competing with established (Eurocentric) applicants for funding.
About a quarter of respondents mentioned social factors such as feeling a lack of inclusion or sense of belonging, or a lack of representation or diversity.
About one in ten respondents mentioned the following factors:
- Lack of opportunity or lack of access
- Discrimination or racism
And about one in five mentioned themes related to:
- Stereotyping, profiling or bias
- Lack of education, or ignorance
- Systemic or institutional racism
- Lack of cultural understanding
- Lack of awareness of available services or programs
The need for education or creating awareness, and for promoting inclusion, diversity, better representation or participation were the most frequently mentioned recommendations on the topic of the federal government helping to combat social participation racism or discrimination, mentioned by about a third of participants.
Funding, grants or subsidies for art or recreational programming were recommended by about one in five participants.
Minor themes, recommended by about one in twenty respondents each, were:
- Acknowledge racism exists
- Consult with Indigenous Peoples and racialized people for their perspective
- Provide support and space for cultural exchanges
- Support sports or art or cultural events of Indigenous Peoples and racialized people
- Promote equal opportunity or access
- Affirmative action or hire more minorities
- Zero tolerance for racism or more accountability or harsh penalties
- Support organizations or communities that empower Indigenous Peoples and racialized people and do anti-racism work
- Provide or fund training such as diversity/sensitivity/cultural
- Address poverty or socioeconomic or wealth distribution factors
Appendix G: Anti-Racism Engagement written submission summary
Context and methodology
In the fall of 2018, the Department of Canadian Heritage embarked on a series of engagements in order to help with its development of a national anti-racism strategy. In addition to the in-person discussion sessions and forums, online surveys were conducted and email feedback was solicited. Emails were submitted both by individuals who had attended the consultations and sought to contribute further, as well as individuals who independently emailed their thoughts after seeing the call for input on the Canadian Heritage website.
Using NVivo software, a thematic analysis was created through a coding process. This involved an emergent thematic coding process whereby the researcher reviewed emails, determined themes as they emerged, and categorized them under broader thematic nodes. Quotations from emails were included in each node to support the identified theme. Some quotations have been placed into more than one theme, depending on the level of detail.
It is important to note that the email submissions do not constitute a representative sample of opinions from a larger population, and are limited by those who were aware of the opportunity to provide comments through email, and who took the time to do so. This results in a self-selection bias that means these comments should not be assumed to represent the opinions of the Canadian population on these issues. Given limitations in the engagement process, as well as the call-out for email submissions, it should be noted that the results may omit voices from certain regions and/or population groups whose feedback would complement the data gathered to date.
Similarly, some email input detailed individual experiences in certain workplace industries. The naming of particular sectors should not be seen as an implication that racism is more prevalent there; rather, this emphasis is a result of those who chose to contribute to this process. These results may or may not be generalizable to other sectors of the workforce.
Any disrespectful contributions were captured as "other" in the sub-category of "out of the scope of this exercise". The frequency of category is in chart below, however, the text has been omitted.
Despite the limitations in methodology and results, data gathered from email submissions provide anecdotal insights into issues and experiences with racism and recommendations for change. Moreover, the themes emerging from the coding process support those gathered during the in-person engagement process.
Coding Categories and Frequencies
The thematic categories summarized below consist of the guiding themes used throughout the engagement processes – namely, Employment and Income Supports, Justice, and Social Participation. As more submissions were examined, these three categories were further disaggregated into more detailed themes that are highlighted in the chart below. Policy Development and Legislation Recommendations contained the most comments, while other themes that emerged include the need for more education and sensitivity training, employment discrimination issues, equality issues that need addressing and barriers to social participation.
|Policy Development and Legislation Recommendations||113|
|Acknowledge Root Causes and History||18|
|Further Stable Funding||10|
|Improve Data Collection||19|
|Education and Sensitivity Training Required||33|
|Employment Discrimination Issues||33|
|Film and Television Industry Employment||6|
|More Support for New Canadians||19|
|Official Language Minority Communities Employment||4|
|Public Service employment||42|
|Racialization of poverty||1|
|Remove Bias from Resume and Interview Process||10|
|Service Industry Employment||1|
|Equality Issues that Need Addressing||28|
|Black Canadian Communities||17|
|Barriers to Social Participation||20|
|Culture, Arts and Media||9|
|Sports, Leisure and Recreation||5|
|Out of the scope of this Exercise||4|
Coding Categories with Direct Quotations
All of the following text consists of quotations from those who submitted email contributions. No corrections, additions, or revisions have been made to the text of those who submitted emails.
Policy Development and Legislation Recommendations (Frequency – 113)
It was stressed that a national anti-racism strategy is necessary, as are policies at all levels of government. It was suggested that as data drive policy, it is important to first understand the nature and magnitude of the problem, and then publicly acknowledge the existence of racism and systemic racism. Federal policy has been largely ignored and therefore must be reviewed and strengthened. There was a demand for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) calls to action to be implemented and that the Indian Act should be reformed. It was felt that the Canadian public must be engaged and educated, and that supporting resources should be provided. Another respondent asked that the government consider developing a broader anti-hate or anti-bias strategy, rather than an anti-racism strategy. It was stated that hiring practices, particularly positions of power, should reflect the diversity of Canadians. Coordination across levels of government, and collaboration with community groups, was desired to achieve institutional change. Overall, government is urged to put ideas into action.
Education and Sensitivity Training Required (Frequency – 33)
It was indicated that policies regarding education and training are needed at all government levels, and a national anti-racism strategy is critical. Another respondent expressed a need for a network for community organizations across the country that combat racism and promote (inter)cultural understanding. It was also communicated that racism needs to be acknowledged and diversity campaigns need to be visible and out-front in order to combat systematic and institutional racism. Other comments spoke to the belief that racism is a learned behaviour, and our education system must teach acceptance and equality as core to its curriculum, including adequate training for teachers. It was also suggested that civil servants at all levels of government must also be properly trained.
Employment Discrimination Issues (Frequency – 33)
In terms of employment discrimination issues, it was indicated that stereotypes about racialized persons, poverty issues, cultural-specific clothing (such as hijab) and externally visible indicators of racialization (such as skin colour and accent) contribute to unemployment, underemployment, and discrimination in the workplace. Case study suggestions regarding the TV industry may provide insights for other sectors. New Canadians and official language minority communities may face additional barriers regarding their linguistic and cultural competence in the workplace. It was also communicated that policies at the workplace and at the government levels must consider employment equity, training for racialized individuals, a federal minimum wage, and research by the Human Rights Commission into biased and discriminatory recruitment, staffing and employment practices.
Equality Issues that Need Addressing (Frequency – 28)
Overall, many of the comments in this section were related to institutional power imbalances that discriminate against racialized peoples and communities. It was stated that public spaces can often be unsafe for racialized individuals due to flaws in the justice system and interactions with police. Minority language communities may not be treated equitably in majority language situations. Violence by intimate partners/family members towards women was of particular concern to certain respondents. It was suggested that systematic changes are needed in areas related to racial profiling, complaints against authority structures, national security, child welfare services, housing, hate crimes, reconciliation, racism and religious discrimination. To address these areas, racial equity impact analysis tools could be adopted, or national equality and accessibility benchmarks.
Barriers to Social Participation (Frequency - 20)
Numerous comments focused on barriers to social participation. For example, it was communicated that barriers to social participation begin in the school system, where the curriculum was identified as leaning heavily towards white, middle class, and Western in content and approach. Other emails suggested that employment opportunities were seen both as fewer and as lower paying for racialized individuals, coupled with related struggles to finding suitable housing and child care. This was attributed to stigma towards some ethno-cultural groups related to reliance on welfare – and, conversely – immigrants 'taking' jobs. A lack of social and recreational services in some areas where racialized individuals live was also communicated, and some Canadians identified use of public spaces (parks, libraries, recreational activities, etc.) as a potential barrier to social participation. It was also suggested that initiatives related to racialized individuals/communities are often identified as "culture," which can create barriers for funding or other opportunities, especially as, in the opinion of the respondent, these groups are often viewed as not being professional. Finally, a lack of representation in leadership, politics, and education was identified as a critical barrier. It was also expressed that racialized communities/individuals must be consulted and included for any policy creation related to anti-racism.
Experiences (Frequency – 19)
Personal experiences of individuals varied, and included instances of stereotyping, hate crimes, micro-aggressions, and discrimination due to language barriers. Overall, lack of literal and figurative voice was discussed. Moreover, it was stated that there is a general lack of understanding that racist experiences can lead to trauma for some individuals. One respondent argued that diversity needs to be actually embraced, and not just referenced blithely as a positive thing. Lack of exposure to and understanding of people of diverse cultures leads to feeling they are "other" which contributes to discrimination.
Other (Frequency – 6)
This category includes a diverse set of comments that could not be categorized into the other nodes. Some contributors criticized this data gathering process as being discriminatory or colonial in its structure and execution. Other comments described issues with immigrant organizations, language facility, and historical discrimination against African Nova Scotians.
Appendix H: Anti-racism engagement contributors
The following groups and organizations were among those who contributed their input to the Anti-Racism Engagement. Their presence in this list does not indicate any endorsement of the process or findings described in this report.
Community forum hosts
- Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change
- Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria
- Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan
Written submissions and stakeholder meetings
- Alberta Human Rights Commission
- Anima Leadership
- Association Francophone de Brooks
- B'nai Brith Canada
- Black Lives Matter Toronto
- Canadian Union of Public Employees
- City of London
- Colour of Poverty, Colour of Change
- Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia
- Inspirit Foundation
- Ministry of Heritage
- Musée Holocauste Montréal
- Okanagan Chinese Canadian Association
- Ontario Native Women's Association
- Pearson Centre
- Prime Minister's Youth Council
- Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
- Public Service Alliance of Canada
- University of Alberta
- Ville de Montréal
Regional ministerial forum participants
- 613/819 Black Hub
- Abbotsford Community Services
- Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg
- Accueil francophone du Manitoba
- Action Dignity
- Actions interculturelles de développement et d'éducation
- Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC
- Afghan Women's Centre of Montreal
- African Communities of Manitoba Inc.
- African-Canadian Association of Waterloo Region
- African-Canadian Federation of London & Area
- Alberta Human Rights Commission
- Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council - AMPAC
- Alberta Urban Municipalities Association
- Alexandra Neighbourhood House
- Alliance jeunesse-famille de l'Alberta
- Alpha Bellechasse
- Anishnabeg Outreach Employment and Training Inc.
- Asian ACCT Foundation & Asian Heritage Foundation
- Asian Tribune
- Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta
- Association Francophone de Surrey
- B'nai Brith Canada
- Bahai Community of Burlington Canada
- BC Native Women's Society
- Black Agenda Noir
- Black Community Resource Centre
- Black Space Winnipeg
- Black Women United YEG
- Boyle Street Community Services
- Brampton Multiculturalism Society
- Brooks and County Immigration Services
- Burnaby Together – Coalition against Racism and Hate
- CAFCAN Social Services
- Calgary Immigrant Educational Society
- Canadian Anti-Hate Network
- Canadian Black Lawyers Association
- Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion
- Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity
- Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children
- Canadian Ecumencial Anti-Racism Network
- Canadian Human Rights Commission
- Canadian Punjabi Post
- Canadian Race Relations Foundation
- Canadian Union of Public Employees
- Caribbean African Multicultural Association of Thunder Bay
- Center for Research-Action on Race Relations
- Central West Local Health Integration Network
- Centre Culturel de Ressources Francophone
- Centre for Israel & Jewish Affairs
- Centre for Newcomers
- Centre for Race and Culture
- Centre for Young Black Professionals
- Centre R.I.R.E 2000
- Chinatown Foundation
- City For All Women Initiative
- City of Edmonton
- City of Thunder Bay, Aboriginal Liaison
- City of Thunder Bay, Corporate Strategic Services
- Clareview Multicultural Centre
- Collingwood Neighborhood House
- Colour of Poverty
- Communication – Ouverture – Rapprochement Interculturel
- Community Justice Initiatives
- Confederation College Student Union
- Connections Community Services
- Conseil de la Nation huronne-wendat
- Côte des Neiges Black Community Association Inc
- Council of Edmonton Filipino associations
- Creative BC
- Cultural Communities Advisory Committee
- Culture and Heritage Programs Division
- Decade for People of African Descent
- Dilico Anishinabek Family Care
- DisAbled Women's Network (DAWN) CANADA
- DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society
- Diversity Thunder Bay
- Economic and Social Council of Ottawa-Carleton
- Edmonton Immigrant Services Association
- Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education & Action
- Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers
- Elmwood Community Resource Centre
- Empowerment Squared
- Engaged Immigrant Youth Program - Vancouver School Board
- Ensemble pour le respect de la diversité
- Espace Art Nature
- Ethnocultural Council of Manitoba
- Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
- Fédération des communautés culturelles de l'Estrie
- Fédération des Femmes de Québec
- Fédération des Francophones de la Colombie-Britannique
- Federation of Calgary Communities
- Federation of Chinese Canadians
- Festival accès Asie
- Fondation Jasmin Roy
- Foundation for Economic Education Foundation
- Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association
- Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies
- Girls+ Rock Ottawa
- Grande Prairie Local Immigration Partnership
- GRIS – Québec
- Halton Region Chinese Canadian Association
- Hamilton Anti-Racism Resource Centre
- Hamilton Black History Committee
- Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion
- Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council
- Hamilton Jewish Federation
- Hamilton Youth Poets
- Head and Hands
- Helinalysis Ltd
- Hindu Society of Alberta
- Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention Foundation
- Hua Foundation
- Immigrant Employment Council of BC
- Immigrants Working Centre
- Immigration Partnership Winnipeg
- Indian Residential School Survivors Society
- Indigenous Academic Affairs in the Ongomiizwin Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing, University of Manitoba
- Indigenous Community Legal Clinic
- Indigenous Engagement
- Institute for International Women's Rights
- Intégration communautaire des immigrants
- Islamic Centre of Markham / Masjid Darul Iman
- Islamic Social Services Association
- Jaffari Islamic Community Centre
- Jewish Federation of Edmonton
- John Howard Society of Hamilton, Burlington & Area
- John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights
- Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation
- L'Alliance de la Fonction publique du Canada – Québec
- La Boussole
- La Fondation Paroles de Femmes
- La Ligue des Noirs du Quebec
- La Table ronde du Mois de l'histoire des Noirs
- Lakehead Social Planning Council
- Lakehead University
- Lenkinski Law
- Love Intersections
- Malton Neighbourhood Services
- Manitoba Chinese Women's Association
- Manitoba Islamic Association Citizen Equity Committee (City of Winnipeg)
- Manitoba Somali Association
- Matawa Education Department
- McMaster University
- Metro Vancouver Community Entity - Homelessness Partnering Strategy
- Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture - British Columbia
- Mississauga Community Legal Services
- Mississauga of the Credits
- Montreal Community Cares Foundation
- Montreal Holocaust Museum
- Montreal United
- Mosaic Cross-Cultural Solutions/Queen's University
- MTL En Action
- Multicultural Advisory Council to the Province of BC
- Multicultural Association of Northwestern Ontario & Regional Multicultural Youth Council
- Multicultural Family Resources Society
- Muslim Association of Hamilton
- Muslim Food Bank and Community Services
- Muslim Social Services
- National Association of Friendship Centres
- National Congress of Black Women Foundation
- Newcomers Employment and Education Development Services, Inc
- Niagara Immigrant Employment Council
- Niagara Peninsula Aboriginal Area Management Board
- North Shore Multicultural Society
- Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission
- Ocean of Hope
- Office of Social Accountability and Community Engagement, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University
- Ogijiita Pimatiswin Kinamatwin
- Ombudsman, Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime
- One Full Circle (OFC)
- Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants
- Ontario Native Women's Association
- Organization for the Prevention of Violence
- Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization
- Pacific Community Resources
- Parc Extension Youth Organization
- Peel Multicultural Council
- Peernet BC
- Portail de l'Immigrant Association de Calgary
- Pour 3 Points
- University of Manitoba
- Public Service Alliance Canada
- Queer People of Colour
- Racism-Free Transit in Halifax
- Rainy River District School Board
- Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights
- RCC School Counsellor, BC Provincial School for the Deaf
- REACH Edmonton Council
- Reception House Waterloo Region
- Refuge: Hamilton Centre for Newcomer Health
- Réseau de Soutien à l'immigration francophone de l'est de l'Ontario
- Réseau du Nord de l'Ontario
- Réseau Immigration francophone
- Restorative Justice Association of Manitoba (Social Planning Council of Winnipeg)
- Rexdale Women's Centre
- Rural South Central Alberta Regional Inclusion Coalition
- Saamis Immigration Services Association
- Salvation Army
- Services d'orientation et d'intégration des immigrants au travail de Québec
- Seven Oaks School Division
- Shiloh Centre for Multicultural Roots
- Sickle Cell Association of Ontario
- Sierra Leone Community
- Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada
- Silk Road Institute
- Simon Fraser University
- Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority, Executive Director
- Social Development Centre Waterloo Region
- Social Planning & Research Council of Hamilton
- Solidarité ethnique régionale de la Yamaska
- Somali Centre for Family Service
- Somali Ogaden Community
- Somerset West Community Health Centre
- South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario
- South Vancouver Neighbourhood House
- Soutien aux Familles Réfugiées et Immigrantes de l'Estrie
- Surefooting Consulting, Training + Coaching
- Surrey Immigrant Advisory Table/Refugee Youth Team
- Surrey Interfaith Council
- Surrey Local Immigration Partnership
- The Healing of the Seven Generations
- The Manitoba Islamic Association Inc.
- The Regional Diversity Roundtable
- Think for Actions
- Thrive Child and Youth Trauma Services
- Thunder Bay Indigenous Friendship Center
- Thunder Bay Masjid
- Thunder Bay Multicultural Association
- Thunder Bay Public Library
- Thunder Pride Association
- Toronto Ward Museum
- Tri-Cities Local Immigration Partnership
- Ukrainian Canadian Congress
- Unité Québec
- United Nations Association of Canada
- University of Alberta
- University of Calgary
- Urban Native Youth Association
- Vancity Board of Directors
- Vaughan African Can Association
- Venezulan Canadian Society of BC
- Vision Inter-Cultures
- Voice of English-speaking Québec
- Wapikoni Mobile
- Why Not Theatre
- Wilfrid Laurier University
- Winnipeg Islamic Center
- Women's Health Clinic
- Women's Advisory Voice of Edmonton Committee
- World Sikh Organization
- Worldwide Shift Disturbers
- Yazidi Association of Manitoba
- York Region Alliance of African Canadian Communities
- York Region District School Board
- Youth Ottawa
- Youth Stars Foundation
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