OFL Applauds Ontario’s New Anti-Racism Directorate, Calls for Resources and Labour Representation to Challenge Racism

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 16, 2016

OFL Applauds Ontario’s New Anti-Racism Directorate, Calls for Resources and Labour Representation to Challenge Racism

(TORONTO, ON) ─ The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) applauded today’s Ontario Government announcement about the creation of a new Anti-Racism Directorate to work in collaboration with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. The OFL has been calling for the re-establishment of an Anti-Racism Secretariat ever since it was abolished by the Mike Harris government in the 1990s, but it reiterated this demand as part of recent Black History Month celebrations.

“By establishing an Anti-Racism Directorate, Ontario has an opportunity to make the advancement of racial justice a prerequisite throughout the province,” said OFL President Chris Buckley. “However, this Directorate must be given appropriate resources to produce the research, expertise and guidance that can truly challenge individual, systemic and cultural racism in all its forms. We are calling on the Wynne government provide proper funding for the Anti-Racism Directorate and include Ontario’s labour movement among the Directorate’s key strategic partners.”

The OFL joined the Ontario NDP earlier this year in renewing the call for the Government of Ontario to finally take action on the 2006 Human Rights Code Amendment Act, by re-establishing and properly funding a provincial Anti-Racism Secretariat. Today, the Ontario Government announced the establishment of an Anti-Racism Directorate and named the Honourable Michael Coteau as Ontario’s new Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism. The mandate of the Directorate is to:

  • Increase public education and awareness of racism to create a more inclusive province, and;
  • Apply an anti-racism lens in developing, implementing and evaluating government policies, programs and services.

“Today’s announcement is an important step forward for Ontario at a time when racial profiling, racially motivated ‘carding’ and police shootings of racialized people have spurred incredible public outrage and given rise to a Black Lives Matter movement that has swept North America,” said Ahmad Gaied, OFL Executive Vice-President. “Challenging racism is about much more than speaking out against prejudice and discrimination when we witness it, it is about confronting systemic racism with concrete government action to remove the barriers to equal opportunity. We hope this Directorate will be the beginning of the kind of meaningful change racialized communities are expecting.”

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter.

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For further information:

Joel Duff, OFL Communications Director: 416-707-0349 (cell) or jduff@ofl.ca *ENG/FRENCH*

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