MONTREAL, February 6, 2007 - The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) joins with the Centre for Research -Action on Race Relations (CRARR) and other organizations in calling on the federal and provincial governments to intervene to ensure that there is no discrimination on the basis of race or national origin among Canadian aerospace workers. It is a fundamental obligation, particularly of the federal government, to ensure that transnational companies do not violate Canadian human rights laws.
It has come to our attention that as result of the international Traffic in Arms Regulations in the United States, Canadian companies with contracts with those in the United States may be asked, or required, not to employ or otherwise discriminate against persons born in and/or holding dual citizenship with certain countries.
If these allegations are true, we view this very seriously as discriminating on the basis of race or ethnicity and, as such, violates the intent and spirit of Canadian laws.
Only a couple of weeks ago it was reported that a Canadian bank was engaged in a similarly discriminatory practice, for similar reason. The subsequent response left no doubt that this situation was unpalatable to Canadians. The bank in question has since reportedly changed it policy.
It would certainly be preferred if the aerospace companies in question voluntarily reject these imposed conditions. Nevertheless, it bears repeating that governments' role in protecting the rights of its citizens and should therefore make it clear to employers that they will be heavily penalized if they violate Canadian human rights laws.
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation has, and continues to have great concerns about the systemic racial barriers to employment and promotion in many organizations and institutions in all sectors to racialized persons and foreign-trained professionals. Adding a new dimension to this state of affairs is completely unacceptable.