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Government of Canada announces action plan against racism

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OTTAWA, March 21, 2005 — The Government of Canada announced the country’s first ever action plan against racism. “Canada is a world leader in the development of policies and laws to fight racism, but many Canadians still experience racism and discrimination in their daily lives,” said the Honourable Raymond Chan, Minister of State (Multiculturalism).

“The Government of Canada has for some time recognized that our fight against racism requires a horizontal, forward-looking approach. And we recognize that we have to collaborate more effectively with all sectors of society for these efforts to be successful. This is what we will achieve with this Action Plan,” added Minister of State Chan.

The objectives of the Action Plan are to strengthen social cohesion, further Canada’s human rights framework, and demonstrate federal leadership in the fight against racism and hate-motivated crime. “The underlying message of this first ever Action Plan Against Racism is clear: we seek a Canada in which there will be no sanctuary for hate and no refuge for racism,” said Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler.

Building on Canada’s existing legal framework, and on the policies and programs currently in place, the Action Plan establishes a horizontal approach across federal departments and agencies, and outlines a significant number of new and continuing commitments to combat racism. The Action Plan is organized into six areas identified as key priorities. These are:

1. Assisting victims and groups vulnerable to racism and related forms of discrimination
2. Developing forward-looking approaches to promote diversity and combat racism
3. Strengthening the role of civil society
4. Strengthening regional and international co-operation
5. Educating children and youth on diversity and anti-racism
6. Countering hate and bias

“The Government of Canada is firmly committed to breaking down the barriers to full participation in Canada’s labour market and society that many newcomers face, and to ensuring that they have the tools they need to succeed,” said Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada Joe Volpe. “This Action Plan will help achieve that vision by educating the general public about the many valuable contributions newcomers to Canada make and by helping to build truly welcoming communities across this great country.”

The Minister of State (Multiculturalism) will consult stakeholders to assess the progress being made in the fight against racism. The Government will inform Canadians of its progress through the Annual Report on the Operation of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act.

The Action Plan against Racism received $56 million over 5 years in the February 2005 budget.

“Eliminating discrimination in the workplace is key to Canada’s economic and social development and will help our businesses succeed in the 21st century economy,” said Minister of Labour and Housing Joe Fontana. “The Racism Free Workplace Strategy will contribute to the Action Plan by promoting fairness and eliminating barriers to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate in the workplace.”
For a copy of the overview summary and the entire document of A Canada for All: Canada’s Action Plan against Racism, please consult: www.pch.gc.ca

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