TORONTO, June 27, 2017 – Today we celebrate the mutual recognition of the diverse peoples, religions, races, spirituality and ethnic origins in a Canada that aspires to ensure that everyone feels fully respected and included, and whose contribution to its strength is validated. This aspiration has evolved from many roots, and although its evolution has not always been without challenges, it is widely shared. Today, in a world where inter- and intra-group conflicts of various kinds abound, it is important to take stock of how far we as Canadians have travelled the journey thus far, to rejoice at what we have achieved, and to commit ourselves to working together to safeguard the best of who we are.
“We have been deeply and profoundly enriched by our founding Indigenous communities and those who have, in every generation, chosen to make Canada their home,” said Albert Lo, Chairperson of the CRRF. “The principles of Multiculturalism pay tribute to our roots, and to those who, oftentimes facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles, brought their courage, creativity, skills and traditions to this land in order to begin new lives."
Today we celebrate the principles of uniting in our strengths and accommodating our differences, formally articulated as national policy in 1971. Canada was the first country in the world to declare an official national policy of Multiculturalism. Derived from a need to recognize the valued presence and contribution in and to Canada of diverse peoples, it aimed to integrate all into a single framework. It was stressed that while one could retain connections to one's culture of origin, the goal was to promote integration and participation in a single public sphere.
While many Canadians still hold to this conception of Multiculturalism, there have been major changes over the years, with the introduction of both the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Multiculturalism Act of 1988.
The implications of these two pieces of legislation for diversity and accommodation are still being determined. But today, June 27, proclaimed in 2002 to be Canadian Multiculturalism Day, we celebrate the achievement of bringing the concepts of diversity and inclusion this far, and stimulating dialogue on these issues in other areas of human identity and dignity. The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) is proud to highlight and celebrate the contributions made by all communities to the strength and vitality of our nation.
"This occasion reminds us of the importance of working together with our stakeholders and all communities and sectors, to ensure that the diversity, vibrancy, dignity and values inherent in multiculturalism are honoured and respected," said Lo.
The CRRF's 150 Stories initiative tells the stories of remarkable Canadian individuals, organizations, initiatives and historical events, which have contributed greatly to the breadth of Canada's physical, historical and cultural diversity. All 150 Stories may be found here.
About the Canadian Race Relations Foundation
Through its mandate and mission, the CRRF pays tribute to the dignity and worth of the individual, and has, as its foundation, the legacy of generosity of spirit which underlies the Japanese-Canadian Redress Agreement. The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) is a Crown Corporation dedicated to working towards the elimination of racism and all forms of racial discrimination. Its mission is to advance Canadian identity in the pursuit of positive race relations, equity, fairness, social harmony and dignity for all Canadians. The CRRF does this by providing independent, outspoken national leadership, informing national policies and public conversation, and acting as a resource and facilitator.
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