Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

March 22, 2007 13:17 ET

200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Statement by the Ontario Federation of Labour

Attention: Assignment Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO--(CCNMatthews - March 22, 2007) - The Ontario Federation of Labour encourages all Ontarians to acknowledge the 200th anniversary of the legislation to abolish slavery in the British Colonies.

On March 25th, 1807 Britain legally ended its trade in African human flesh and brought to a close its 270 year participation in one of the most horrific experiences in human history: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Last year, Canada supported a United Nations resolution calling a global commemoration of the anniversary. To date, there has been little federal recognition of the event.

"Slavery was one of the world's most shameful crimes against humanity," says Terry Downey, OFL executive vice-president and a descendant of African slaves. Some 50 million Africans were sent to the Americas and sold into slavery between 1450 and the early 19th century. Unfortunately, Canada, a British colony, participated in the slave trade and also practiced institutional enslavement of African people.

Between 1800 and 1865, approximately 20,000 black people escaped to British North America via the Underground Railway.

In keeping with the United Nation's General Assembly's adaptation of a resolution to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the British abolition of the slave trade, the McGuinty government plans to launch the Ontario Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade which will include year-long projects to remember, educate and commemorate the history of the abolition of slavery in Ontario. The Bicentenary will give all Ontarians a chance to honour those who suffered and died as a result of slavery.

"The OFL and its affiliated unions are urging all levels of government to commemorate this significant turning point in world history. The labour movement will be doing the same," said Downey.

Source: Multiculturalism Canada

cope343 /For further information: Terry Downey
OFL Executive Vice-President
416.578.3230 (cellular)/ IN: JUSTICE, LABOUR, MEDIA, POLITICS, OTHER

Contact Information

  • Dana Boettger, OFL Communications Director
    Primary Phone: 416-441-2731 ext. 665
    Secondary Phone: 416-443-7665
    Toll-Free: 800-668-9138