Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Human Resources and Social Development Canada

March 18, 2008 12:00 ET

The Government of Canada Encourages Canadians to Take a Stand Against Racial Discrimination in the Workplace

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - March 18, 2008) - The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, visited Halifax today to meet with community groups and stakeholders to promote the Government of Canada's commitment to creating racism-free workplaces.

"As Canadians we expect more-more of ourselves and more of our society. We all have a responsibility-as workers, as employers and as citizens-to take a stand against racial discrimination," said Minister Blackburn. "Providing equal access to employment opportunities makes Canada a more diverse country than ever before, and we are richer for the experience."

The Minister of Labour is responsible for the Employment Equity Act. The purpose of this Act is to remove employment barriers faced by women, persons with disabilities, Aboriginal peoples and members of visible minorities. Implementation of the Act, and initiatives such as the Racism-Free Workplace Strategy, strive to create workplaces where competence and qualifications are the most important criteria for employment, retention and advancement in the workplace.

Minister Blackburn delivered a speech to the Millbrook Band and participated in an interactive lecture at Saint-Mary's University on the elimination of racism. He also met with his provincial counter-part, the Honourable Mark Parent, as well as with the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, the Honourable Mayann E. Francis.

Today's visits reaffirm the Minister's commitment to creating racism-free workplaces. They coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Racism. The March 21 campaign aims to heighten awareness of the harmful effects of racism on a national scale, and to clearly demonstrate the commitment and leadership of the Government of Canada to foster respect, equality and diversity.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.


The Racism-Free Workplace Strategy

The Labour Program's Racism-Free Workplace Strategy promotes a fair and inclusive workplace, free of discriminatory barriers to the employment and advancement of members of visible minorities and Aboriginal peoples. It focuses primarily on workplaces under the jurisdiction of the Employment Equity Act and the Federal Contractors Program.

Canada's Action Plan Against Racism represents a horizontal approach across the federal government to combat racism, and is being led by Canadian Heritage in partnership with the Labour Program of Human Resources and Social Development Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and Justice Canada.

The Strategy is educational in nature. It fosters public recognition of the principles and objectives of employment equity, facilitates the dissemination of tools, best practices, success stories and business cases, and brings together employers and designated groups to work on innovative partnership approaches to training, recruitment and retention.

It also recognizes Canada's changing demographics: aging Canadians; declining birth rates; a growing immigrant and visible minority work force; and a fast-growing, young and working-age Aboriginal population. The supply of skilled labour is a critical factor in Canada's economy, which is increasingly knowledge-based and human-resource focused. It is therefore crucial to eliminate discriminatory barriers that prevent us from maximizing the utilization of all available human resources.

So far in 2008, nine racism prevention officers have been hired in different regions across Canada. They will assist employers to create racism-free workplaces, and work with other stakeholders by delivering awareness sessions to promote inclusive work environments, building networks and providing practical tools.

Contact Information

  • Office of Minister Blackburn
    Michael Winterburn
    Director, Parliamentary Affairs and Communications
    Human Resources and Social Development Canada
    Media Relations Office