Statement by Minister Khera on Emancipation Day


OTTAWA, August 1, 2023

On Emancipation Day, we acknowledge Canada’s dark history of slavery and the intergenerational impact it had on Black communities across our country.

Over hundreds of years, millions of African people and their descendants were enslaved and subjected to terrible acts of violence. On this day in 1834, slavery was officially abolished in the British Empire, paving the way to freeing over 800,000 enslaved Africans and their descendants in Canada, parts of the Caribbean, Africa, and South America.

Recognizing the destructive legacy of slavery in Canada also means acknowledging that its impact on Black communities did not end on August 1, 1834. Systemic anti-Black racism and hate continue to have lasting effects in our country, causing harm and inequities, and negatively affecting the overall health and well-being of people of African descent.

Hate has no place in Canada. For far too many, systemic racism is a daily experience with devastating consequences. The Government of Canada continues to work with federal organizations, other orders of government, civil society, and Black communities to address systemic anti-Black racism and create a more just and equitable Canada where everyone can thrive and succeed.

As we take a moment to remember this dark chapter in our history, let’s also acknowledge what Emancipation Day means to Black Canadians today. This day emphasizes the fight for freedom and the ongoing efforts toward equity and racial justice for people of African descent in all aspects of our society.

On this Emancipation Day, I encourage all Canadians to learn more about the history of slavery in Canada. This is a history that we all share, and collectively, as Canadians, we have a responsibility to ensure this truth is always kept alive.


For more information (media only), please contact:

Shiraz Keushgerian
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

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