Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

March 19, 2010 15:50 ET

OFL Statement on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 19, 2010) - The Ontario and Federal governments must take substantial and immediate action to address the problems of peoples of colour, says OFL Executive Vice-President Terry Downey.

The provincial government has an opportunity in next week's budget to help those who face unfairness and hardship, she said.

"As we rebuild the economy, we have to make sure peoples of colour are included. The United Nations and many studies support arguments for fair and equitable access to jobs, education, health, childcare, occupational health and safety, housing, and pensions. It's a matter of basic human rights to address the inequality."

The OFL represents more than a million workers, and Downey asked them to speak up and help build communities that work for everyone.

In her visit to Canada last year, the UN's Independent Expert on Minority Issues, Gay McDougall, issued a report that confirmed significant and persistent problems and called on the Government of Canada to take action.

McDougall noted that Canadian peoples of colour have higher unemployment and lower income. They live in the poorest neighbourhoods with poor access to services. 

Workers of colour have been heavily employed in the manufacturing sector, which has been hard-hit by job loss for several years. Many are overrepresented in jobs that are part-time, temporary, casual, and insecure.

Sid Ryan, OFL President, has renewed the Ontario Federation of Labour's call for the federal government to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples declared in 2006. Indigenous Peoples are among the most marginalized in society, and live with racism, discrimination, poverty, and substandard social and economic conditions.

The International Day for the Elimination of Racism is observed on March 21st of each year. That's the day in 1960 when police fired into a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, killing 69 people protesting apartheid pass laws.

Contact Information

  • Ontario Federation of Labour
    Terry Downey
    Executive Vice-President
    416.737.5798 (mobile)