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Statement by the Prime Minister on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

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The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination:

Many people here in Canada and around the world continue to face discrimination, hatred and human rights abuses simply because of their skin color, background or religion. Today, at International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, we reaffirm our commitment to end racism and racial discrimination in all its forms, and we reflect on the remaining work to be done to build a fairer and fairer country.

This past year, thousands of Canadians across the country took to the streets to peacefully seek an end to anti-Black racism, systematic discrimination, and white supremacy. Their sadness, disappointment, and anger were as clear as their calls for justice, equality, and responsibility. The delayed COVID-19 pandemic has revealed and further exacerbated social, health, and economic inequalities for indigenous peoples, black Canadians, and other Canadians of racial and religious minorities and their communities. The pandemic has also fueled Anti-Asian hatred and discrimination, both here at home and around the world. This crisis is a grim reminder that racism and systematic discrimination disrupt lives, harm the health and well-being of people, and are major drivers of inequality. This is unacceptable and must be stopped. We know we need to act now to address these complex and age-old issues.

That is why we have renewed our commitment to building a more inclusive and equal country, where all rights and freedoms are respected. We are working with First Nations, Inuit and Mtis to renew our relationship, based on recognition of rights and treaties, respect and cooperation. This includes working in partnership with provinces and territories, health system partners and educational institutions to address anti-indigenous racism in our health care systems. Cultural security, recognition of indigenous knowledge, and support for Indigenous-led health services are three strategies that the Government of Canada sees as essential to achieving the goal of eliminating anti-indigenous racism in health care.

We introduced legislation to advance the implementation of United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We are also responding to recommendations from a number of key reports, including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report and the Final Report of the National Missing and Killed Local Women and Girls. Working in partnership with partners, including indigenous youth, will continue to be our priority as we move forward with this work.

As part of our commitment to ending anti-Black racism and systemic discrimination, we are also working closely with Black-led organizations to advance equal access to opportunity and support. Last year, we launched Canadas for the first time Black Entrepreneurship Program to help Black business owners and entrepreneurs gain access to financial support while helping them recover from the pandemic and grow their businesses. Last month, to address the excessive imprisonment of indigenous peoples and Black Canadians, we introduced legislation aimed at reforming sentencing practices and promoting deviation from the criminal justice system in cases where this can be done safely. We have also supported anti-racism programming and strengthened competition-based data collection at Statistics Canada to better assist in evidence-based decision-making, which will assist in the fight against discrimination.

As we make progress towards a fairer and more equitable society, more needs to be done and the Government of Canada remains committed to this work. through Canada Anti-Racism Strategy and with the support of Federal Secretariat Anti-Racism, we will continue to work to eliminate systemic racism in Canada.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I encourage Canadians to stand up against racism, discrimination and xenophobia, whenever and wherever they occur. By working together, we can build a fairer, more inclusive, and better Canada for all.

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