Ontario government unveils 3-year plan to battle racism

The provincial government has announced a sweeping new plan for tackling systemic racism that includes Ontario’s first anti-racism legislation, $47 million for black youth, and a framework for collecting race-based data — something community activists have long demanded.

The “pan-government” strategy — developed over the last year by the province’s still-fledgling anti-racism directorate — was unveiled Tuesday at a crowded news conference attended by the Attorney General and several cabinet ministers.

In his remarks, Minister of Children and Youth Services Michael Coteau, who heads the directorate, promised “concrete steps” to end systemic racism in government institutions.

One of these steps is proposed legislation to be introduced this spring — which, if passed, will mandate the collection of race-based data across multiple sectors, including child welfare, education, health and justice. Another is a new framework to apply an anti-racism lens to future policies and programs.

The “A Better Way Forward” strategic plan highlighted specific barriers faced by black youth, who will become the beneficiaries of a four-year, $47-milllion “action plan” aimed at reducing disparities and helping them succeed. “I want black youth in this province to know that their lives matter,” Coteau said.

The plan also calls for education initiatives and public awareness campaigns — something Coteau believes is “especially needed when we talk about Islamophobia.”

“Our government is ready to take responsibility and to make change,” Coteau said. “It’s taken us decades to get to this point. And I believe that it’s never too late for us to correct our course.”

The anti-racism directorate was formed to “address racism in all its forms” in February 2016 — 10 years after the Ontario government first passed legislation that enabled them to create an office for tackling systemic racism.

Read more from The Star- https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/03/07/ontario-government-unveils-3-year-plan-to-battle-racism.html

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