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Celebrating the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

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March 21, 2011

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For immediate publication

Toronto – Today, human rights commissions and agencies across Canada are celebrating the United Nations (UN) International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

This day commemorates the tragic events of March 21, 1960 in Sharpeville, South Africa when 69 peaceful demonstrators were killed as they protested against apartheid. Canada was one of the first countries to support the UN initiative.

Barbara Hall, Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, stated that, “Race was one of the first grounds covered by the Ontario Human Rights Code when it was introduced in 1962, replacing the province’s 1944 Racial Discrimination Act. Eliminating racism and discrimination is everyone’s business. I’m proud that over the past year, the Commission has been able to work with a number of partners from different sectors to address these important issues.”

A few highlights:

“Municipalities and the Commitment to Anti-Racism” – March 21, 2011

Chief Commissioner takes part in a panel discussion at Toronto City Hall that looks at issues municipalities currently face regarding racism and discrimination, and examines possible solutions.

Windsor Police Project Charter

A new initiative in partnership with the Windsor Police Service (WPS), Windsor Police Services Board, and the Ontario Police College addresses eliminating any discrimination in employment practices and the delivery of services. The Commission has also worked with the WPS to develop an expanded policy for Unlawful Profiling or Bias-based Policing and an additional policy directive specific to Racially Biased Policing and Racial Profiling.

Policy Dialogue

Commission held a Policy Dialogue on Competing Human Rights Claims in partnership with the York University Centre for Public Policy and the Law to discuss how to achieve a balance between competing rights in a way that recognizes the human rights of all. A special issue of Canadian Diversity Magazine features essays addressing the nature of competing human rights claims and ideas on how to address them in Ontario and across Canada.

Anti-racism, Anti-discrimination for Municipalities

In partnership with the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, York University and the City of Vaughan, the Commission issued this new reference guide to help local governments undertake activities to fight against racism and discrimination within their municipality. The manual complements the earlier 2005 UNESCO initiative to create a wider Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination (CCMARD). - New CASHRA (Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies) web site

CASHRA serves as a national voice on human rights issues of common concern. The new website showcases and links to the work of Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial human rights agencies, as well as to initiatives, news and opinions of national interest coming from those various organizations.

Toronto Police Project Charter

Completion of a three-year joint initiative between the Toronto Police Service (TPS), the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB), and the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) that looked at human rights issues and the elimination of discrimination in employment and in the delivery of police services in areas, such as recruitment, selection, promotion & retention, police learning, accountability and public education.

“Count Me In!”

A growing number of businesses, public sector and non-profit employers are finding that collecting data based on race or other grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code is often essential in responding to allegations of systemic barriers or public perceptions of discrimination. The new Commission publication includes best practice examples of how data collection can improve internal work environments by promoting an inclusive and equitable work culture.

Disponible en français

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Afroze Edwards
Sr. Communications Officer
Communications and Issues Management
(416) 314-4528