On June 27, Canadian Multiculturalism Day honours the many cultural communities that help build a strong and vibrant Canadian society. Take this opportunity to celebrate the cultural diversity that enriches us collectively and reaffirm your commitment to equity, inclusion, and mutual respect.
In 1971 in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau declared multiculturalism an official government policy. This policy was later enhanced by the 1982 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Section 15 of the Charter makes it clear that every individual in Canada – regardless of race, religion, national or ethnic origin, colour, sex, age or physical or mental disability – is to be treated with the same respect, dignity, and consideration. No other Western country in the world has constitutionalized multiculturalism.
With the 1984 Canadian Multiculturalism Act, the government sought to strengthen its commitment to promoting equality and diversity. The Act seeks to ensure every Canadian receives equal treatment from the government; it also recognizes multiculturalism as an essential component of Canada’s heritage which must be protected.
As we celebrate Canada’s commitment to multiculturalism, it is important to reflect on its history, its limitations, and what multiculturalism means to Canadians as we engage with the present challenges of racism and discrimination.
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