The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and FedNor; the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations; and the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor; issued the following statement today on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination:
“Today marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, a day on which we come together to denounce racism and discrimination in all forms and renew our commitment to fostering inclusion and diversity. Many people in Canada still face racial discrimination in their day-to-day lives, creating barriers to health, wellness and economic opportunities. The Government of Canada remains committed to working with partners across all jurisdictions to create equity in public services and to improve socio-economic outcomes for all Canadians, regardless of their race or heritage.
Every day, Indigenous Peoples in Canada are subjected to prejudice, stereotyping, racial profiling, bias and other forms of discrimination. Canada’s colonial practices have created a reality in which the lives of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis are far too often devalued and undermined. Many Canadians have lived their whole lives without understanding the history and impact of colonial practices, including land dispossession, residential schools, and the suppression of Indigenous culture and languages. The results are stark: whether trying to access healthcare, the justice system or policing protection, Indigenous Peoples have often experienced neglect and violence, leading to many negative outcomes, including death.
In 2020, when Joyce Echaquan recorded the racism and hate she was experiencing from healthcare workers in an emergency room before she died, Canadians saw the full brunt of the injustice Indigenous Peoples experience every day in healthcare systems across the country. This tragic event led to solidarity and prompted a call for stronger and more immediate action to eliminate systemic racism in healthcare.
Since then, the Government of Canada has committed to invest $126.7 million over three years to address healthcare discrimination. And because many partners deliver healthcare, we convened First Nations, Inuit, Métis, and healthcare and educational partners to begin to create plans to deliver culturally safe and inclusive health systems and prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again.
Residential schools, land theft, the Sixties Scoop and many more colonial practices were intentional. They were meant to separate families, weaken culture, language, and tradition, and remove people from their lands and right to self-determination. The intergenerational trauma of these policy choices continues to impact First Nations, Inuit and Métis Survivors, families and communities today. We reiterate our commitment to providing trauma-informed and culturally sensitive mental health support to all those healing from intergenerational trauma, including the effects of residential schools.
Indigenous women and other marginalized groups, such as 2SLGBTQI+ people, are also disproportionately impacted by the effects of racism in Canada and experience higher rates of violence. The Federal Pathway to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People invests in spaces to prioritize the voices of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQI+ individuals, support them in their fight for justice, foster safe and secure communities, and work towards ending gender-based violence.
As we continue this important work with First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners, it is clear that we must all do more and more urgently. The federal government remains committed to addressing anti-Indigenous racism and discrimination in all its forms. On this important day and every day, we must speak out against discrimination and hate as we work to build an inclusive and safe future for all.”