Strength in Diversity: The Government of Canada Invests More than $3.2 Million in British Columbia for Multiculturalism, Anti-Racism Initiatives and Youth Programs

News release

SURREY, British Columbia, September 6, 2019

Diversity is at the heart of our national identity. The Government of Canada is not only committed to celebrating the invaluable contributions that Canadians of all backgrounds make to our country, but also to working hard to remove barriers that still prevent many Canadians from fully participating in society.

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament (Vancouver South), today announced investments totalling $3,251,439 in support of multiculturalism, community activities and events, youth programs and anti-racism initiatives throughout British Columbia. Minister Sajjan made this announcement on behalf of the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism.

This funding, provided through the Community Support, Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Initiatives Program (CSMARI), will benefit 47 organizations across the province, including the Whistler Multicultural Network, the Arts Council of Surrey, the Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society of Prince George, and the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria.

The Indus Media Foundation will create a series of short films about the little-known story of Punjabi-Canadians’ contributions in the First World War. The Foundation’s project, Duty, Honour & Izzat, will facilitate the development of partnerships with the heritage sector on creating inclusive programming, while seeing the films delivered across a spectrum of digital platforms that specifically engage children and youth from the South Asian community about their history and heritage. Community workshops and opportunities for dialogue will also be organized to discuss issues of racism, discrimination, equity and media stereotyping.

In June 2019, Minister Rodriguez unveiled Building a Foundation for Change: Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019–2022, which helps advance the Government of Canada’s vision of fostering and promoting a more inclusive and equitable country for all Canadians. The strategy, with an investment of $45 million, is building on current efforts to create long-term changes in supporting communities and for improved policies, initiatives and practices in our federal institutions. These investments are meant to be the first step of a longer-term commitment and a foundation for change in addressing racism and discrimination in Canada. Applications for new funding opportunities became available on September 3, 2019.


“The opportunity to take part in enriching experiences that celebrate our rich multicultural heritage not only bolsters our community spirit, it breaks down barriersbuilding a Canada that promotes respect, equity, equality and dignity. Our government is proud to support these projects that support our youth, and promote diversity and inclusion, while addressing issues of racism and discrimination in communities.”

—The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism

“Our government is committed to promoting multiculturalism and celebrating the unique cultural diversity of British Columbia by investing in these important anti-racism projects. It is through increasing the understanding of British Columbia’s diverse communities and their contributions in building our province and country that we can fight intolerance and discrimination. This funding will benefit many organizations, supporting them in the important work they carry out across the province building a more accepting British Columbia.”

—The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament (Vancouver South)

“The Arts Council of Surrey is grateful to the Government of Canada for their generous support of Surrey Fusion Festival. Surrey Fusion Festival is British Columbia’s largest multicultural event, and is known as the ultimate celebration of food, music, culture, and the literary, performing and visual arts. Working in partnership with the City of Surrey, the Arts Council of Surrey is able to utilize this important funding to continue celebrating our creative diversity.”

—Carol Girardi, President, Arts Council of Surrey

“We are grateful for the Department of Canadian Heritage’s support in shining a light on the significant contributions of the Punjabi community in defence of the Crown and to Canada’s military history. Punjabis can now see themselves reflected positively in the Canadian World War I storya pivotal moment in the nation-building saga. The story of the unsung heroes of the Punjab (Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims) is likely one of the most unifying and Canadian stories we can tell: it is an untold story of diverse communities coming together with a common goal; it is a dialogue around the ties that bind, and the shared values of courage, integrity and selfless sacrifice. This is a common heritage that establishes belonging and confronts divisive voices to promote a shared future within a multicultural Canada.”

—Steven Purewal, Managing Director, Indus Media Foundation

“As an organization serving Canada’s newest citizens, the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria is committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming community. We are delighted to partner with Indigenous leaders on this learning journey to integrate the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations into our organization. Many newcomers share similar stories and histories of displacement, colonization, dispossession and oppression. New immigrants, when educated on the reality of life in Canada and history, are logical allies and can understand their settlement in Canada in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples. We hope introducing newcomers to the richness of the local Indigenous history and culture will strengthen relationships between newcomers and Indigenous Peoples. We look forward to sharing our learnings with settlement-serving organizations and our community partners, thanks to this support from the Government of Canada.”

—Jean McRae, CEO, Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria

Quick facts

  • The goal of the Community Support, Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Initiatives Program is to build an integrated, socially cohesive society by building bridges to promote intercultural understanding; to promote equal opportunity for individuals of all origins; and to promote citizenship, civic engagement and a healthy democracy.

  • The CSMARI Program has three funding components: Events, Projects and Community Capacity Building. It also includes two separate initiatives, Community Support for Black Canadian Youth initiative and the Paul Yuzyk Youth Initiative for Multiculturalism.

  • The Events component provides funding to community-based events that foster one or more of the following: intercultural or interfaith understanding; civic memory and pride; respect for a healthy democracy; and celebrations of a community’s history and culture.

  • The Projects component provides funding for community development, anti-racism initiatives, and engagement projects that promote diversity and inclusion through projects that promote the expression of Canadians’ multiple identities and encourage positive interaction between cultural, religious and ethnic communities in Canada.

  • The Community Capacity Building component provides funding for capacity-building projects that will contribute to the recipient’s ability to promote diversity and inclusion, and help achieve one or more of the following objectives: strengthening governance and building partnerships (building the capacity of organizations, and promoting collaboration between service providers); e-capacity (building and strengthening the online and social media presence of eligible organizations); establishing an overall external communication strategy; and recruitment and training of volunteers.

  • The Community Support for Black Canadian Youth initiative provides funding for projects that address the unique challenges faced by Black Canadian Youth by combating discrimination through awareness raising and digital literacy; providing opportunities for Black Canadian Youth and empowering them through the promotion of Black history, culture and identity; and developing leadership skills and promoting civic engagement.

  • In June 2019, the Government of Canada unveiled Building a Foundation for Change: Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019-2022 to help advance the vision of fostering and promoting a more inclusive and equitable country for all Canadians. Budget 2019 announced an investment of $45 million to support the Strategy.

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Simon Ross
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

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