Canada’s unions: federal government must fulfill anti-racism promises

December 10, 2019

Canada’s unions are marking this year’s International Human Rights Day by calling on the federal government to increase support for anti-racism initiatives now that Canadians have made it clear they will not support fear and division in their communities.

During the federal election campaign, a few parties campaigned on anti-immigrant sentiment and against multiculturalism. Yet all the major political parties pledged to do more to address racism and discrimination in Canada.

“Canadians can be proud that we collectively rejected the right-wing populism that is gripping much of the Western world,” said CLC Vice-President Larry Rousseau. 

“This new minority government must now implement lasting and impactful policies to combat racism and hate that nevertheless continue to exist. Every effort should be made to tear down barriers to success that far too many people face due to their race, ethnicity, religion, or any other identifiable characteristic.”

These were the key commitments made by the various political parties:

  • Doubling funding of Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy;
  • Increasing supports for members of racialized communities seeking good, stable employment;
  • Improving data collection around hate crimes;
  • Convening a national working group to counter online hate and implementing stricter regulations against platforms that fail to remove hate speech in a timely manner;
  • Working with local governments to ensure hate crime units exist in every major city;
  • Mandatory training on unconscious bias and cultural competency for judges; and
  • Potential civil remedies for victims of hate speech.

Canada’s unions further call on all provinces and municipalities to consult local communities in the implementation and operation of anti-racism directorates or secretariats, all of which should include clear mandates and defined deliverables to combat systemic racism.

“Far too often, discrimination can hold people back in a number of ways, including in employment and overall civic engagement,” said Rousseau. “Communities of colour need concrete action and demonstrated results when it comes to inclusion. With consensus across party lines, we believe now is the time for Ottawa to act. Canadians are clearly ready for this.”

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