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Human rights commission to champion in Ontario UNESCO's proposal for a Canadian coalition of municipalities against racism

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June 16, 2005

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For immediate publication

Toronto - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCU), and other partners, released a draft proposal this week calling for the establishment of a Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism, and is asking human rights commissions from across Canada to promote the proposal in their regions.  

Presented at the annual general meeting of the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA) earlier this week in Saskatoon, this proposal is based on the UNESCO (United Nations Economic, Social, and Cultural Organization) plan for an International Coalition of Cities Against Racism. Launched in 2004, its goal is to establish a network of regional coalitions around the world committed to fighting racism. The OHRC has lent its expertise and support to the CCU in developing the proposal calling for a coalition here in Canada.

The Preliminary Proposal, supported in principle by delegates at the CASHRA meeting, calls on municipalities to adopt a plan of action detailing 10 common commitments for combating racism in their communities, including initiatives in the areas of community development, employment, policing, housing, culture, and education, among others. In the next year, the OHRC, the CCU, and their partners will consult with municipalities, asking for their feedback and to consider joining the Canadian Coalition. Once a final proposal has been reached, municipalities will be asked to sign a declaration adopting the common commitments, and would then develop their own local plans to fight racism.  

The OHRC has already met with a number of municipalities in Ontario that have expressed interest in this initiative.  With the imminent release of its new Policy and Guidelines on Racism and Racial Discrimination in the coming weeks, the Commission will soon be increasing its efforts to promote this plan across the province.

Commenting on the initiative, Chief Commissioner Keith Norton stated that, “In the fight against racism, there is strength in numbers. This coalition will be an effective and efficient way to combat racism across the country, getting stronger with each municipality that joins.”

More information about the proposal for a Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism is available online.

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François Larsen

Jeff Poirier
Senior Policy Analyst
Policy Education, Monitoring and Outreach Branch (PEMO)
Ontario Human Rights Commission