TORONTO, November 13, 1997 - The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) officially opened its doors today. It launched its program of activities, unveiled its website and issued a call for research proposals. Participants at the Foundation's official opening included the Honourable Hedy Fry, Secretary of State for Multiculturalism, and influential representatives of a wide range of organizations involved in anti-racism activities at all levels of government.
"The Canadian Race Relations Foundation is now in business, with a clear direction and course of action," said the Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, Chair of the Foundation. "We are now ready to work with our many partners to actively and effectively address the issue of racism in our communities."
"We must turn a theoretical belief in equality for all into a reality," said Mr. Alexander. "We must become a dynamic, multicultural society based on true equality, justice and harmony. We will achieve these goals only if we make progress on a broad variety of fronts."
A Broad Agenda for Change
In outlining the Foundation's strategic directions, CRRF Chief Executive Officer Moy Tam stressed the need to be attentive to the diversity of regions, sectors and approaches across Canada. "We also need to find ways to enhance the work of existing programs and organizations rather than to duplicate them," said Ms. Tam.
CRRF activities fall into five general areas which were identified as priorities following an extensive consultative process carried out by the Foundation over the last few months.
The first is public education that combats racist misperceptions and reinforces the positive contributions of racial minorities and Aboriginal Peoples in Canadian society. As part of its public education program, the Foundation will enter strategic partnerships in the field of anti-racism. It will assist in developing national standards for training in race relations. It is also considering various ways to formally acknowledge positive initiatives in promoting harmonious race relations.
Second is the need to promote greater networking and coordination of efforts across Canada. "We need to use modern technology such as the Internet to make our information more easily accessible," said Ms. Tam. The Foundation today unveiled its website : www.crr.ca
A third area for the Foundation's activities is action-oriented research that is "practical, strategic and focused." In addition to diagnosing the disease of racism, the Foundation is determined to find concrete solutions. The first request for research proposals was issued today, and details are provided below.
Fourth, the Foundation intends to be of practical assistance in the policy and advocacy area. Through its website and other activities, it will facilitate the exchange and dissemination of information that is accurate, timely and persuasive.
Fifth, in the area of resource development, the Foundation is developing a national information base on race relations in Canada. It has undertaken to compile existing resources, as well as a directory of websites related to race relations. The Foundation will also support the development of new educational tools, where required.
Call for Research Proposals
The CRRF invites the submission of proposals on three subjects, which the Foundation's consultative process has identified as significant research areas. The three subjects are:
To be considered for funding, all research proposals must meet the following conditions. 1) They must make a unique contribution to current policy debates and program approaches. 2) The issues must be national in scope. 3) All projects will focus on advancing concrete strategies for racial equality in Canada. Further details and instructions for submitting proposals may be obtained by contacting the Foundation or visiting its website.
The deadline for receipt of proposals is January 27, 1998. An expert advisory panel will be responsible for assessing eligible research projects, and for selecting those that will receive funding.
Origins of the CRRF
The CRRF was proclaimed by the federal government on October 29, 1996 to work at the forefront of efforts to combat racism and all forms of racial discrimination in Canada. It operates at arm's length from the government, and it has registered charitable status. Its purpose, which is defined in the Canadian Race Relations Foundation Act, is to facilitate throughout Canada the development, sharing and application of knowledge and expertise aimed at eliminating racism and racial discrimination in Canadian society.
The Foundation was established pursuant to the 1988 Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement. It received a one-time endowment of $24 million in recognition of the unjust treatment of Japanese Canadians by the Government of Canada during and after World War II.
Tribute to the Japanese Canadian Community
As part of its Opening Ceremony, the CRRF paid tribute to the goodwill and generosity of the Japanese Canadian community. Excerpts were read from private letters which Japanese Canadian author Muriel Kitagawa wrote during the wartime uprooting of her community. A commemorative plaque was also presented by the Foundation to the National Association of Japanese Canadians.