Premier Kathleen Wynne has announced that Ontario will establish an Anti-Racism Directorate to address racism in all its forms — including individual, systemic and cultural. Michael Coteau has been appointed the Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism and continue as Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. By working with businesses, community organizations, educational institutions and the Ontario Human Rights Commission this new Anti-Racism Directorate will increase public education and awareness of racism; develop, implement and evaluate government policies, programs and services with an anti-racism view. This is part of the Wynne government’s commitment to fight racism. Other anti-racism efforts include:
- Today the government will introduce legislation that, if passed, would formally and permanently establish February as Black History Month in Ontario on an annual basis.
- Since 2003, the Ontario Trillium Foundation has awarded seven grants for a total of $171,100 in support of Black History Month. In addition, 14 other grants have been awarded for a total of $829,900 in support of black history initiatives.
- The Ontario Public Service (OPS) launched the first OPS Anti-Racism Action Plan last November. It focuses on preventing race-based discrimination and harassment; further diversifying the public service at every level, including senior management; and increasing OPS employees’ awareness of racism and its impacts.
- Public servants use a tool called the OPS Inclusion Lens to identify and address potential barriers in designing policies or delivering services. The lens addresses 17 dimensions of diversity, including race, age, gender and disability.
- Every year, the province awards the Lincoln M. Alexander Award to youth who have demonstrated leadership in eliminating racial discrimination in Ontario.
“We know in our hearts that deeply entrenched biases are still at work, disadvantaging entire communities. I have fought for equality my entire life, and I know that government needs to play a leading role in the fight against racial discrimination and inequality. That is why we are establishing an Anti-Racism Directorate to advance racial equality across Ontario.” — Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario “Despite all our progress towards building an inclusive society, racial minorities in Ontario continue to face economic and social barriers. I am honoured to assume this new role, and as Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism I will work to make our province a place where everyone has an equal opportunity to flourish.” — Michael Coteau, Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport “The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) welcomes the establishment of the Anti-Racism Directorate. The OHRC has long recognized that government must play a leadership role in the fight against systemic discrimination. We are excited to work closely with Minister Coteau to advance our shared goal of a province where racialized Ontarians are able to realize their full potential free from discrimination.” — Renu Mandhane, Chief Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission