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Ontario Combatting Systemic Racism and Breaking Down Barriers

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Ontario Combatting Systemic Racism and Breaking Down Barriers

Province Releases Three Year Anti-Racism Strategic Plan

Anti-Racism Directorate

Ontario is combatting systemic racism by releasing a new three year strategic plan in order to break down barriers for racialized people across the province, including Black, Indigenous and other racialized communities.

The government has heard from people that despite efforts to promote inclusion and equity, histories of slavery, colonization and institutions of our past continue to shape the present and create a further gap between racialized people and others.

Following community meetings held across the province in 2016, Michael Coteau, Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism, today released A Better Way Forward: Ontario's 3-Year Anti-Racism Strategic Plan. The plan is part of government's commitment to fight systemic racism and create fair and equitable outcomes for Black, Indigenous and other racialized people.

The plan includes measures to help identify and eliminate systemic racism. It is also an acknowledgement that systemic racism -- including anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, Islamophobia and racism experienced by other communities, including the Jewish community -- is real, and can act as a barrier to achieving opportunity.

The strategy includes:

  • Developing a framework for the collection of race-based data in various institutions, including the child welfare system and the justice, education and health sectors. Collecting race-based data is a valuable way to better understand where racial inequalities exist, which will help government work toward solutions to address it.
  • A new Ontario Black Youth Action Plan targeted at increasing access to supports and opportunities for Black children, youth and their families to address outcomes disparities.
  • Implementing an anti-racism impact assessment framework to help anticipate and remove unconscious bias in proposed policies, programs and decisions.
  • New legislation that would, if passed, ensure the sustainability and accountability of the province's anti-racism work by providing a framework for government and organizations to identify and combat systemic racism. 
  • Public education and awareness initiatives targeting racism, including Islamophobia and antisemitism

Eliminating systemic racism and advancing racial equity is part of Ontario's plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

Quick Facts

  • Systemic racism occurs when an institution or set of institutions working together creates or maintains racial inequity. This can be unintentional, and doesn’t necessarily mean that people within an organization are racist.
  • Ontario’s Black Youth Action Plan is a four-year commitment with $47 million in funding.
  • In 2016, the directorate held 10 public meetings across Ontario. In total, more than 2,500 people attended and more than 2,000 participated via live stream. Transcripts of the public meetings are posted on Ontario.ca/antiracism.
  • By 2031, racialized people will account for an estimated 40 per cent of Ontario’s population, and Indigenous youth are Ontario’s fastest-growing population.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“During our consultations, I heard a Black father speak about how his 4-year old boy had already experienced racism. I’m a firm believer that Ontario is a place of diversity and inclusion. I also know, just as well as that father and son do, that racism is real, and that government must actively work to eliminate it. This plan is our commitment to change how we do things. It’s our pledge to Black youth who come into contact with the law, Indigenous youth who are overrepresented in children’s aid services and other racialized communities who experience disproportionate outcomes. Ontario is on a path to positive change and better outcomes. I am dedicated to leading this work, and I look forward to shaping a stronger future for all.”

Michael Coteau

Minister of Children and Youth Services and Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism

“Today’s announcement represents an important first step towards addressing systemic racial inequities in this province as experienced by people of colour and Indigenous peoples. We are very pleased our key recommendations have been incorporated, including the adoption of legislation and the collection of disaggregated data by the government into this Strategic Plan. Now, it’s time for us to continue to work together in order to make Ontario even more open and inclusive for everyone.”

Avvy Go

Chair of the Steering Committee, Colour of Poverty-Colour of Change

“On behalf of NCCM, I am proud to stand behind the province as Ontario unveils A Better Way Forward. Our collaboration with government is and will continue to be crucial as we work together to eradicate barriers, improve outcomes and ultimately set a strong precedent. These efforts also send an even stronger message – Ontario is a place of acceptance and diversity, and anything that contradicts or negatively impacts this cornerstone is simply unacceptable and unwelcome. With work underway, and more work to come, I’m confident we can work together to continue to dismantle systemic racism in this province, setting a positive stage for future generations.”

Ihsaan Gardee

Executive Director, National Council of Canadian Muslims

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