March 21 is recognized each year as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This year is significant since 2023 is the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the universal rights of all people, without distinction.
Yet in 2023, Black, racialized and Indigenous people in Canada and around the world face racism, hatred, and racial discrimination regularly.
Racism is common in Canada
Did you know?
- Approximately 1 in 5 Canadians report discrimination or mistreatment because of their race regularly or occasionally.
- Since the pandemic, incidents of anti-Asian hate have risen to an alarmingly high level across Canada. A study released in 2022 showed that incidents rose dramatically in 2020 and again 2021. For example, reports of assault increased by 42% in 2021.
- More than seven in 10 (72%) Black employees in Canada still experience some form of racism at work, according to a recent report by KPMG.
- Canada was recently criticized by the UN for failing to fully implement the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Women and Girls. “The number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to increase,” said UN expert Cali Tzay, saying that the government needs to address the systemic racism that is the root cause of such violence.
Will things get worse?
Recent developments in Canada threaten to increase the level of racism experienced by Black, racialized, and Indigenous people. For example, due to recent news about potential interference by the government of China in the last federal election, many Chinese Canadians are worried about an increase in racist incidents. The looming recession is also creating concerns that Black and racialized people will lose their jobs first, and that anti-Black racism and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives will be ‘put on hold’ by employers during an economic slump.
As well, for most racialized, Black and Indigenous workers who have done remote work during the pandemic, working from home has been a respite from the continual racism they have faced at the worksite. Now that federal government departments and other employers are ordering workers to return to their offices, these workers are worried about the racism they will again face at work.
CEIU urges our members to stand up against all forms of racism.
Our union is committed to fighting against racism in the workplaces we represent and in all Canadian society. We will continue to push employers to address the systemic racism that is so prevalent in our workplaces.
Learn more: #FightRacism: Learn, Speak up, Act! Is a global call for action against racism, xenophobia, and discrimination.
Sarita Censori, Racially Visible (Female) representative, CEIU Human Rights and Race Relations Committee
Farid Tourkmani, Racially Visible (Male) representative, CEIU Human Rights and Race Relations Committee