Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

March 21, 2006 11:36 ET


March 21st, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Attention: Assignment Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO--(CCNMatthews - March 21, 2006) - The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is marked every year on March 21st. The global theme this year is Fighting Everyday Racism.

Forty-six years have passed since the Sharpeville massacre in South Africa, where 69 demonstrators were shot and killed during a non-violent protest against apartheid on the 21st of March. The United Nations chose this date to draw attention to the continuing fight against all forms of racial discrimination.

Despite many efforts, racism still exists. People from all over the world suffer from systemic, direct or indirect discrimination, from acts of violence and hate crimes, from harassment and religious persecution. New forms of discrimination seem to defy any gains we have made. The Internet is used for the propagation of racism, the number of victims of human trafficking is rising and xenophobic arguments in the political arena are on the rise.

On the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) supports and promotes mutual respect, diversity, tolerance and peace through education and awareness with the goal of eliminating everyday racism. The OFL is working to increase the level of public awareness and understanding of everyday racist attitudes or behaviours which humiliate, hurt, convey disregard and disrespect. Racism has and continues to marginalize too many people in our society.

The OFL represents over 700,000 working people in Ontario. The Federation recognizes the importance of marking one day to recognize the elimination of racism. "The OFL's anti-racism work requires proactive daily vigilance and a long term commitment to end the racism that people face every day," said Terry Downey, OFL executive vice-president responsible for Human Rights issues.

"The OFL's Human Rights Committee has launched a campaign to fight the restructuring of the Ontario Human Rights Commission," Downey said. "Unions and community groups will be working together to ensure that Ontarians continue to receive fair and equitable access through the Ontario Human Rights Commission and to a process that remains in tact through proper public funding."

The provincial government is promoting a direct access model for the Commission. "This means that people will no longer have access to free investigation, mediation and legal representation through the Commission. Complainants will have to do ther own investigations or hire a lawyer. The OFL is calling for public consultations immediately before any changes are made. We want McGuinty to stop dismantling the Commission and its work and make real improvements to human rights protections," said Downey.


/For further information: Terry Downey
OFL Executive Vice-President

Contact Information

  • Dana Boettger, OFL Communications Director
    Primary Phone: 416-443-7665
    Toll-Free: 800-668-9138