Historic legislation passes in Ontario to combat racism

Ontario passed legislation on June 1 that positions the province as a leader in fighting systemic racism and advancing racial equity for all. With Ontario’s racialized population is projected to grow to 40 per cent of the province’s population by 2031, the Anti-Racism Act, 2017 strengthens the government’s commitment to identify and combat systemic racism in policies, programs and services and build a fair society where everyone is provided equal opportunity.

“Ontario is taking a stance against systemic racism, positioning our province as an anti-racism leader in the country. This legislation will enable us to build greater racial equity, and build an even stronger Ontario by fighting systemic racism, including anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia and discrimination facing other racialized communities,” says Michael Coteau, minister responsible for anti-racism.

The legislation sets the Anti-Racism Directorate, which was established in 2016, in legislation to ensure its sustainability. It also enables the government to implement race data collection and an anti-racism impact assessment tool, to help identify, remedy or prevent inequitable racial impacts of policies and programs.

Last year, the Anti-Racism Directorate held 10 public community meetings across Ontario, attracting thousands from across the province. The Anti-Racism Act, 2017 responds to input from the public who called for legislation to ensure the long-term sustainability of the government’s anti-racism efforts.

The anti-racism strategy will be reviewed at least every five years, in consultation with the public and community partners, to ensure the sustainability and accountability of the government’s anti-racism work.

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