The Government of Canada is unwavering in its commitment to uphold the values of diversity and inclusion, including tackling all forms of systemic racism and discrimination. The recent tragic events motivated by hate have reminded us that we must continue working to make Canada a consciously more inclusive society, where everyone can fully participate in economic, cultural, social, and political spheres, reach their full potential, and live as their authentic selves.
Today, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth and Member of Parliament for Waterloo, announced $20.4 million to support 92 projects across the country to address barriers to employment, justice, and social participation among Indigenous peoples, racialized communities, and religious minorities.
The projects funded through the Anti-Racism Action Program, will help:
· community organizations confront racism and discrimination, promote intercultural and interfaith understanding, and create opportunities to participate fully in Canadian society;
· promote discussions on multiculturalism, diversity, racism, and religious discrimination at the domestic and international levels; and
· organizations leverage research and evidence to build an understanding of the disparities and challenges faced by Indigenous peoples, racialized communities, and religious minorities.
The Anti-Racism Action Program will fund projects like the First Light St. John’s Friendship Centre, which will receive $253,940 to increase cultural understanding and collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, and empower Indigenous peoples in the creation of provincial policies. Additionally, the Afghan Women’s Centre of Montreal will receive $203,702 to fund a project that will address gaps in social participation and access to employment for Central Asian women in Quebec, primarily from Muslim backgrounds, which will help address issues of isolation and disengagement in society.
The funding announced today is part of a two-year, $50 million commitment outlined in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement to re-invest in the Community Support, Multiculturalism, and Anti-Racism Initiatives Program and the Anti-Racism Action Program, and to expand the Federal Anti-Racism Secretariat.
The Anti-Racism Action Program is yet another important step that we are taking to address systemic racism by providing funding to support local, regional, and national initiatives and outcomes-based activities. The Government of Canada will continue implementing the Anti-Racism Strategy as we build a more inclusive society.
“Our government is committed to combatting anti-Black, anti-Asian, anti-Indigenous racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, and all other forms of racism. The support provided through the Anti-Racism Action Program will help address the systemic barriers that prevent many communities from participating fully and equitably in all aspects of society. We will continue empowering and enabling organizations that aim to dismantle systemic racism to build a more inclusive Canada.”
-The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth and Member of Parliament for Waterloo
“While progress has been made in promoting a more diverse and inclusive society, we must continue calling out racism and discrimination wherever and whenever we see it. The continued support provided through the Anti-Racism Action Program will allow organizations to tackle social and economic barriers. Our government will continue working with equity-deserving communities and organizations to combat all forms of systemic racism to build a better Canada for all.”
-Adam van Koeverden, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth and to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Sport) and Member of Parliament for Milton
“This project will allow our Centre to create and foster a culturally safe space for immigrant women from Central Asia and/or with Muslim backgrounds. These women often face racial, linguistic, religious, and gender-based discrimination, which hinders them from participating fully in Canadian society and living their best lives in Canada. With this in mind, this project will seek to break down these barriers and give these women the opportunity to build community and engage meaningfully in diverse social interactions. At the same time, the project will allow us to aid in sensitizing broader civil society to the issues facing our population and create opportunities for positive interaction.”
-Harif Makai, President, Afghan Women Centre
“Confronting systemic racism and discrimination is a societal endeavor and not just government responsibility. The Muslim Association of Canada hopes this program will enable communities to do their part in fostering social cohesion and more equitable access to opportunities.”
-Abdussalam Nakua, Director of Institutions, Muslim Association of Canada
“At a time when Canadian Jews are facing antisemitism higher than any time since the Holocaust, government programs like ARAP are critically important, and demonstrate this government’s commitment to combatting antisemitism proactively.”
-Sam Eskenasi, Director of Advocacy, La’ad Canada
“As a steering committee member of Colour of Poverty Colour of Change (COP-COC), the Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic welcomes this very timely announcement from Canadian Heritage in light of the growing racial disparities across our country. The funding we receive will support our work with COP-COC to broaden public understanding of racism in workplaces and in society, and help build capacity among racialized communities to address racism through the creation of anti-racism tools and bringing together stakeholders to develop practical solutions to longstanding systemic racism.”
-Avvy Go, Clinic Director of the Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
“For the past six years, Black Boys Code has reached thousands of boys across Canada and expanded their aptitude for digital literacy-ensuring that they have equal opportunity to be future leaders in technology. Today, we are pleased that we now have the capacity to also lift up girls in the Black community, who for so long have been ‘hidden figures’ in STEM fields, and now will have equal access and opportunity as the boys.”
-Bryan Johnson, CEO, Black Boys Code
“Given Canada’s five-hundred-year-long history of colonialism, it will take significant time, effort, and resources to achieve real and lasting reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. First Light is thrilled that Canadian Heritage recognizes the importance of investing in anti-racism work and providing the resources necessary for the Indigenous community to lead the process. We believe that this project is a meaningful step towards reconciliation.”
-Stacey Howse. Executive Director, First Light St. John’s Friendship Centre
Unveiled on June 25, 2019 after cross-country consultations, Building a Foundation for Change: Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy is a $45-million investment to build long-term changes in supporting communities and improving policies, initiatives, and practices in our federal institutions.
On October 15, 2020, the Government of Canada announced 85 projects across the country that will be funded through the new $15-million Anti-Racism Action Program to address barriers to employment, justice, and social participation among Indigenous peoples, racialized communities, and religious minorities.
In the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, the Government of Canada is providing $50 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to expand the Community Support, Multiculturalism, and Anti-Racism Initiatives Program and the Anti-Racism Action Program to deliver on the government’s anti-racism objectives, including by expanding the Anti-Racism Secretariat.
Budget 2021 outlines the government’s plan to build a healthier, more inclusive, and more equal Canada. It provides new funding to empower racialized Canadians and help community groups combat racism in all its forms.