Ontario government announces chair and members of Hate Crimes Community Working Group

Archived Release

Ontario government announces chair and members of Hate Crimes Community Working Group

Ministry of the Attorney General

TORONTO, Dec. 9 - The McGuinty government is fighting hate crime and strengthening communities with the help of a new advisory group whose members were announced today by Attorney General Michael Bryant and Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Monte Kwinter. "As we approach International Human Rights Day it is my distinct pleasure to announce the members of this new group," said Bryant. "These nine individuals are representative of our diverse Ontario communities, and are well-placed to recommend ways to improve services for victims of hate crimes and prevent further victimization." International Human Rights Day, December 10, is celebrated around the world, commemorating the 1948 adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the General Assembly of the United Nations. The Hate Crimes Community Working Group, chaired by Dr. Karen Mock, will provide expert advice to the government and propose approaches to address hate crimes, including measures to enhance services to victims of such crime. Mock is joined by a panel of eight members: Marie Chen, Germaine Elliott, Bernie Farber, Dr. Ijaz Qamar, Uzma Shakir, Howard Shulman, Anne-Marie Stewart and Jane Tallim. "I am honoured to assume responsibility for chairing the Hate Crimes Community Working Group," said Mock. "I look forward to working with the group to build upon the fine work done in communities to date in finding creative and more effective ways to help victims of hate crimes." "There is no place for hate and extremism in Ontario," said Kwinter. "The experienced individuals who will sit on our Hate Crimes Community Working Group will provide valuable advice to help support our government's commitment to tolerance and equality - the building blocks of strong and prosperous communities." "The McGuinty government has zero tolerance for crimes of hate," said Bryant. "The advice of this distinguished panel will help strengthen our ability to fight these crimes." Disponible en français www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca Backgrounder ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hate Crimes Community Working Group The McGuinty government today announced the chair and members of the new Hate Crimes Community Working Group. This group will provide advice to the Attorney General of Ontario and the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services on possible approaches to better address hate crimes in the province. These will include measures to enhance services to hate crime victims and to reduce hate crime victimization, directed at both individuals and communities at large. The chair and a panel of members will identify potential barriers to the delivery of programs and services that help victims of hate crimes. It will spend six months looking at best practices in Ontario, across the country and internationally to combat crimes motivated by hate. It will then present recommendations to the government on addressing the unique scope and impacts of community-based hate crimes. The McGuinty government has already taken significant steps to combat hate crimes: - A team of Crown counsel specially trained in hate crimes legislation provides legal advice to the police and other Crown attorneys on hate-crime related matters. - A review of the Crown policy manual updated Crown prosecution policy on hate crimes to ensure that it is up-to-date, reflects legal developments and addresses the current social environment relating to hate activities. - For the first time ever, organizations that support victims of hate crimes were invited to apply for funding from the Victims' Justice Fund that is reserved for community-based victim service programs. Twelve community organizations received a total of more than $500,000 to support victims of hate crimes. - The Ontario Provincial Police maintains a Hate Crime/Extremism Unit as part of its Intelligence Bureau. This unit works closely with its municipal and federal counterparts in monitoring and assisting with hate crime issues. - The government requires that all police services in Ontario have policies and procedures in place to undertake and manage investigations into hate/bias and hate propaganda occurrences. - The province is providing funding of $200,000 to support the expansion of the Joint Forces Hate Crimes/Extremism Investigative Team (HCEIT) from five to 10 police services. The HCEIT provides specialized investigative support to police on matters involving hate propaganda, the promotion of genocide, hate-motivated crimes and criminal extremism. - All police recruits receive hate/bias crime instruction at the Ontario Police College. Members of the Hate Crimes Community Working Group Chair Dr. Karen Mock: Dr. Karen Mock, who has received worldwide recognition for her work in countering hate crimes and developing multicultural anti-racist resources, received a doctorate in applied psychology from the University of Toronto. She has also been recognized by the courts as an expert on hate groups, hate group activity, discrimination and anti-Semitism. Dr. Mock served from 2001 to 2005 as executive director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. Prior to this appointment she spent 12 years as national director of the League for Human Rights of B'nai B'rith Canada. Members Marie Chen: Chen is a lawyer at the African Canadian Legal Clinic. Her work is focused on test cases, litigation and interventions representing the interests of African Canadians to address systemic racism, racial discrimination and anti-Black racism. Prior to 2000, Chen practised immigration and refugee law with a major Toronto law firm. Germaine Elliott: A member of the Serpent River First Nation, Elliott is second vice-president of the Ontario Metis Aboriginal Association, managing the health portfolio. She has more than 25 years experience in community and social development, race relations and cross-cultural learning. Bernie Farber: National Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC), Farber is a leading national expert on anti-Semitism and human rights. He has battled hatred and racism and worked to strengthen relationships with police services across the country for more than 20 years. Dr. Ijaz Qamar: Promoter of multiculturalism, pluralism and inclusion for more than 30 years, Dr. Qamar has held positions with the Manitoba government as a community outreach coordinator and race relations policy researcher. He also worked internationally, as chief of the technical assistance team with the World Bank and Government of Zambia project. Uzma Shakir: Executive director of the Council of Agencies Serving South Asians, Shakir is also president of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants. In addition to her 14-year work history in the social service sector, Shakir has been active as a researcher, advocate and activist. Howard Shulman: Shulman is the coordinator of The 519 Anti-Violence Programme at the 519 Church Street Community Centre. The program offers advocacy and support for individuals who have experienced violence or harassment based upon sexual orientation or gender identification and for persons who are in abusive same-sex relationships. Shulman also provides workshops for police officers who undertake domestic violence work. Anne-Marie Stewart: Former assistant deputy minister of the Ontario Anti- Racism Secretariat and chair of the board of directors for Interval House, Toronto's oldest shelter for battered women, Stewart has more than 25 years of professional experience in helping to create and lead effective organizations with an emphasis on equity and diversity management. Jane Tallim: Tallim was the director of education for the Media Awareness Network, recipient of the inaugural Canadian Race Relations Foundation Award of Excellence. She is also an education specialist for the Provincial Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health. A former teacher, Tallim is a nationally recognized expert on a wide range of media and Internet issues affecting youth, including online hate. Disponible en français www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.caFor further information: Contacts: Greg Crone, Minister's Office, (416) 326-1785; Brendan Crawley, Communications Branch, (416) 326-2210