In 1988, the Government of Canada and the National Association of Japanese Canadians signed the Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement. The Agreement acknowledged that the treatment of Japanese Canadians during and after World War II was unjust and violated principles of human rights. Under the terms of the agreement, the federal government also promised to create a Canadian Race Relations Foundation, which would "foster racial harmony and cross-cultural understanding and help to eliminate racism."
The federal government proclaimed the Canadian Race Relations Foundation Act into law on October 28, 1996. The Foundation officially opened its doors in November 1997.
The Foundation's office is located in the City of Toronto but its activities are national in scope. It operates at arm's length from the federal government, and its employees are not part of the federal public service. The Foundation has registered charitable status.
The National Association of Japanese Canadians negotiated a contribution of $12 million on behalf of its community, matched by an equal amount from the Government of Canada, to create a one-time $24 million endowment fund to establish the Foundation.
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation will be recognized for its role as a leading non-partisan resource and facilitator, helping to eliminate the racism and racial discrimination that will be seen as inherent contradictions to a Canada based on the mutuality of rights and responsibilities, participation, belonging and equity.
The mission of CRRF is defined in The Canadian Race Relations Foundation Act S.C. 1991, c. 8, as found in Section 4, Purpose of the Foundation:
The purpose of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation is to facilitate throughout Canada the development, sharing and application of knowledge and expertise in order to contribute to the elimination of racism and all forms of racial discrimination in Canadian society.
The work of the Foundation is premised on the desire to create and nurture an inclusive society based on equity, social harmony, mutual respect and human dignity. Its underlying principle in addressing racism and racial discrimination emphasizes positive race relations and the promotion of shared Canadian values of human rights and democratic institutions. It strives to coordinate and cooperate with all sectors of society, and develop partnerships with relevant agencies and organizations at the local, provincial and national levels.