Racism in Canada - Report to UN Committee



Community Groups before UN Committee to report on state of racism in Canada

Click here for latest Media Release of August 15, 2017 - "UN Committee Questions Canada’s Record on Anti-Racism"

TORONTO, Aug. 09, 2017 -- Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change (COP-COC) and some of its Steering Committee members will be highlighting the experience and impact of racism experienced by people of African descent and other racialized peoples in Canada and Indigenous peoples at their appearance before the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) on August 14.

The UN CERD Committee will be examining Canada’s compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (1965). COP – COC, Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic (CSALC), Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) and South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALCO) submitted a joint shadow report to the CERD Committee. The African Canadian Legal Clinic has submitted its own report to the CERD Committee highlighting the experience of people of African descent.

The community groups will use their time before the Committee to call for a National Action Plan on Racism for Canada, and the collection of disaggregated data across all government departments.

“Indigenous peoples and peoples of African descent in Canada are over-represented in poverty and in the criminal justice system. This is not the first time we brought this concern to the CERD Committee, and yet very little has changed in more than a decade of our submitting shadow reports,” said Debbie Douglas, Executive Director of OCASI. “In this International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024) we expect to see concrete actions by the Government of Canada to redress these inequalities,” she added.

“Racialization of poverty in Canada is pervasive and deeply entrenched, and racialized communities are disadvantaged by any measure, including income, education, housing and more. We will be asking the CERD Committee to call on Canada to develop and implement a National Action Plan on Racism to bring systemic change,” said Avvy Go, Clinic Director of CSALC.

“Collection of disaggregated data by all governments across all departments and institutions is necessary to map who is disadvantaged in Canada and to help develop targeted measures to address disparities in areas such as health and wellness. We will be asking the CERD Committee to recommend that Canada should adopt universal disaggregated data collection,” said Shalini Konanur, Executive Director of SALCO.

The organizations joined other Canadian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in issuing a joint statement in advance of Canada’s appearance before the CERD Committee. The NGOs affirmed their intention to speak out strongly on Canada’s record on Indigenous rights, anti-Black racism, racial discrimination and human rights and hold the Canadian government accountable in this important international forum.

COP-COC is a province-wide initiative made up of individuals, groups and organizations working to build community-based capacity to address the growing racialization of poverty – for both First Peoples and peoples of colour – and the resulting increased levels of social exclusion and marginalization of racialized communities across Ontario.


Avvy Go, Clinic Director – Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic tel: 416-971-9676
Shalini Konanur, Executive Director – South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario tel: 416-526-3484
Amy Casipullai, Senior Coordinator Policy and Communications – Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants tel: 416-524-4950