Exposing Racism in Canada

I have reprinted here a report on Canada's position on racism.
Report on the State of Racism in Canada February 2007
As reported by the OCASI, MTCSALC and SALCO groups and also submited as a joint report to the United Nations CERD Committee.
Among those issues addressed are:

1. The Status of Compliance by the Canadian Government with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

2.OCASI Asks The Ontario Government To Act To End Racial Profiling:
OCASI writes to Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant, in response to the preliminary findings of the Kingston Data Collection Project conducted by the Kingston Police.

3. The Ontario Government Response to OCASI's Call to End Racial Profiling

4. New Racism Policy falls short:
The newly released policy on racism does not go far enough to state that racism in any form is unacceptable and must be eliminated.

5. Racial Profiling of Canadians:
OCASI calls on both the Federal and Ontario Provincial levels of government to demonstrate how and when they will act to protect all Canadians from racial profiling.

6. OCASI Response to Speech from the Throne:
OCASI is deeply concerned that anti-racism and equity for immigrants and refugees received barely a nod in the Speech from the Throne.

7. OCASI Asks Ontario Government To Act To End Racial Profiling
OCASI writes to Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant, in response to the preliminary findings of the Kingston Data Collection Project conducted by the Kingston Police.

8. Toronto Police Services and Racial Profiling
OCASI and some of its member agencies came together to call on the Premier to take a leadership role in responding to the findings of the Toronto Star.
OCASI is concerned about the ongoing racial profiling by police services across Ontario and at Canadian ports of entry.

9. Racial Profiling Of Black Youth Is Not The Answer To Gun Violence:
OCASI condemns Toronto City Councillor Michael Thompson's comments that police should target young black men in order to find illegal guns.
They found that residents of African/Black origin receive harsher treatment than White residents, and are over represented in Police statistics of charges and arrests

Other Previous Reports on Human Rights Protection in Canada
In a 2002 a report to the United Nations CERD Committee, the following report was prepared on Canada's human rights protection system:

1. "On paper, Canada has a well-established human rights protection system...It is our position, that the human rights system in Canada, is both ineffective and inadequate. The system itself in fact has become, in some instances, a barrier for people facing racial discrimination and other forms of discrimination to access justice".
3."Canada has an international reputation of being a promoter and protector of human rights. But under that facade lies many problems, particularly for those individuals and groups who are vulnerable targets of discrimination...".

Further:
In December 1998 the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
reminded Canada,of its obligation to ensure that its human rights complies with its treaty commitments, stating in its Concluding Observations on Canada's Report, the following: 1. That enforcement machineries provided in human rights legislation need to be reinforced to ensure that all human rights claims are not settled through
mediation and be promptly determined before a competent human rights tribunal,
with the provision of legal aid to vulnerable groups.

2. The (Human Rights Committee), is concerned with the inadequacy of remedies for violations of articles 2, 3 and 26 of the Covenant. (These are the anti-discrimination articles). The Committee recommends that the relevant human rights legislation be amended, so as to guarantee access to a competent tribunal and to an effective remedy in all cases of discrimination.

3. Since then, the Canadian human rights legislation has not been strengthened. On the contrary, in some provinces including Ontario and British Columbia, there has been serious set back in terms of progress and advancement of human rights. The change in political government in both of these provinces, each with a distinctively anti-equity agenda, has moved the provinces back at least 20 years in the area of human rights.

4. The Government of Canada has taken no initiatives to implement any of
the recommendations put forward by Justice La Forest who conducted a comprehensive review of the Canadian Human Rights system, entitled "promoting Equality".

5. The Government of Canada has not committed to substantially increase
funding to enable the human rights system to adequately handle its burdensome caseload.

6. More disturbingly, in some respects, the situation in Canada has become worse.

7. Cancellation of the Court Challenges Program:Canadians may well enjoy constitutionally entrenched Charter rights, but launching a Charter challenge to enforce such rights is a luxury that few people could afford.
Among the least able to do so are the racialized communities.
8. As of September 25, 2006, the ability of members of these communities to launch Charter challenge has been undercut even further. On that day, the Government of Canada killed the one program that supports disadvantaged groups in their fight for equality. Since 1989 the Court Challenges Program has been the key source of support for equity seeking groups who dare to challenge the Canadian Government for discriminating against the most vulnerable in our society... to take action to enforce them.

9. The Government of Canada, by its own admission, particularly when it is appearing before the various UN treaty bodies, including the CERD Committee, has often referred to the Court Challenges Program, to demonstrate how advanced the human rights protection system is in Canada, and how committed that the Government of Canada is to the fundamental principles and values enshrined in the Charter.

10. The Government of Canada decided to eliminate all funding to the Court Challenges
Program, because in the words of the Chair of the Treasury Board, it does not make sense for the Government to subsidize lawyers to challenge the Government's own laws in court.
If minority groups had problems enforcing their Charter rights before September 25, 2006, the difficulties they are going to face will be that much greater after that fateful date.
In cancelling the Court Challenges Program, the Government of Canada has thus violated Article 6 of ICERD, which provides: States Parties shall assure to everyone within their jurisdiction effective protection and remedies, through the competent national tribunals and other State institutions, against any acts of racial discrimination which violate his human rights and fundamental freedoms contrary to this Convention, as well as the right to seek from such tribunals just and adequate reparation or satisfaction for any damage suffered as a result of such discrimination.

Cancellation of the Law Commission of Canada.
On the very same day that the Government of Canada announced its cancellation of the Court Challenges Program, it also announced that it would cancel all funding to the Law Commission of Canada.The Commission has gone through a number of changes as successive governments in power try to curtail the influence of an agency that has dedicated itself to conducting high quality legal research on how the law should best be used as a means for social change...By cutting all funding to the Commission, the Government of Canada has thus eliminated an important tool for many non-governmental organizations in the social justice movement to engage in proactive measures to address racism and other forms of discrimination
5 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination –Seventeenth and Eighteenth
Reports of Canada,
Community Response to 2007 CERD Report Canada – February 2007

This decision of the Government of Canada is inconsistent with Article 2(1)(c)
of the ICERD, which states:
Article 2
1. States Parties condemn racial discrimination and undertake to pursue by all
appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating racial discrimination
in all its forms and promoting understanding among all races, and to this end:
(c) Each State Party shall take effective measures to review governmental, national
and local policies, and to amend, rescind or nullify any laws and regulations
which have the effect of creating or perpetuating racial discrimination wherever
it exists;

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