Government of Canada sets up “Federal Anti-Racism Secretariat” for $4.6 million to tackle “systemic racism”

The Canadian federal government has established a new Anti-Racism Secretariat within the Department of Canadian Heritage as part of its “Building a Foundation for Change: Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019–2022” to address systemic racism.

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The federal government said that it has invested $4.6 million to establish “a new Anti-Racism Secretariat within the Department of Canadian Heritage that will be supported by existing inter-departmental committees and lead a whole-of-government approach in addressing racism.”

The Anti-Racism Secretariat will also “work with federal departments and agencies to address the effects of discrimination.”

This means leading federal institutions to identify and coordinate responsive initiatives, identify gaps, assist in developing new initiatives, and consider the impacts of new and existing policies, services and programs on communities and Indigenous Peoples.

The Secretariat will report publicly on the whole-of-government outcomes in addressing racism and discrimination. It will also contribute to work being undertaken by the Treasury Board Secretariat toward a more diverse and inclusive public service. Diversity helps us to better understand the needs of the people and communities we serve, which helps us build better programs and services that meet the needs of all Canadians.

The Government of Canada recognizes that to be successful it cannot act alone. Partnerships will be important. The Secretariat will liaise with provinces and territories and will continue to engage and work with non-government partners, Indigenous Peoples and communities to identify and develop further areas for action.

As part of the government’s “anti-racism strategy”, the Heritage Department writes,

“Canadians understand that diversity is our strength. However, we know that even today there are people and communities who experience systemic racism and discrimination. Racialized communities and Indigenous peoples continue to face systemic barriers, notably in employment, justice, and social participation. Leadership requires taking proactive steps to remove these barriers that impose a limit on one’s full potential.

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