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March 20, 2019

(TORONTO, ON) March 21 is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This year, the day comes shortly after at least fifty Muslim worshippers were murdered and many others injured in a white supremacist terrorist attack in New Zealand.

Only a few years ago, in 2017, six worshippers were murdered in a similar act of violence at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec. Hate continues to grow in our country; statistics show that the number of white supremacist and nationalist organizations has doubled in Canada since 2017. That year, a record number of hate crimes were reported in Canada and the province where the most incidents were reported was Ontario.

The OFL calls on all parties in the legislature to give their unanimous support to Bill 83, The Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia Act put forward on Tuesday March 19 by NDP MPP Rima Berns-McGown. The Bill would proclaim January 29 of each year as a Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia.

“The growth of hate is deeply disturbing, and we must all take an active role in anti-racist work,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Chris Buckley. “We must not be silent. We must take collective action, as the power of many, to overcome hate. We must say ‘no’ to racism, Islamophobia and hate in Ontario, Canada, and worldwide.”

 “Our government in Ontario must act to support Bill 83 and work to end white supremacy, racism and discrimination. When Ontarians see Islamophobia they must act by naming it and by speaking up against it in all forums,” said OFL Executive Vice-President Ahmad Gaied. “Instead, we see conservative politicians contributing to the rise of hate by skirting the issue of Islamophobia and xenophobia. Governments have the responsibility to speak out and act against racism in all its forms. An immediate action should be to speak out against racism, bigotry and hate in as many forums as possible, whether it be systemic or overt, and eliminate barriers that Muslims and racialized Ontarians face in their workplace and communities.”

The OFL urges all Ontarians to unite against Islamophobia and participate in the campaign to declare January 29 a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia by emailing your local MPP.

The OFL has produced information sheets on intervening to stop racist, xenophobic actions happening, and encourages all Ontarians to work for inclusion and understanding.

The OFL has also produced a downloadable poster for the Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The 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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To arrange interviews or for further information, please contact:

Meagan Perry
Director of Communications,
Ontario Federation of Labour
mperry@ofl.ca l 416-894-3456

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