Anti-Black Racism Strategy creates roadmap to eliminate disparities

Michael Coteau

The Ontario government’s Anti-Black Racism Strategy, launched in Toronto on Thursday, “creates a roadmap for how government and its institutions will work to eliminate disparities for Black Ontarians,” says a news release from the Anti-Racism Directorate.

The Strategy focuses on improving outcomes by:

Setting long-term targets to reduce disparities for Black Ontarians in the child welfare, justice and education systems

  • Creating anti-racism tools to support transformation within the government
  • Partnering with organizations that serve a high percentage of Black Ontarians to run pilot projects to understand how anti-Black racism manifests and work in real time to address it
  • Fostering stronger relationships with the Black community
  • Increasing public awareness and understanding of systemic racism and its impacts on Black communities.

The  release notes that ” fighting anti-Black racism is part of Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change.”

The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.”

The Anti-Black Racism Strategy is a commitment outlined in A Better Way Forward: Ontario’s Three-Year Anti-Racism Strategic Plan, released earlier this year, which builds on decades of activism, research and reports calling for government action to address anti-Black racism.

Commenting on the Strategy, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said “everyone in Ontario has the right to lead a life free of prejudice and discrimination. We can’t stand by and allow systemic racism to persist – it is wrong. And it’s up to all of us to tackle these issues head-on. ”

“With the launch of this Anti-Black Racism Strategy, we are making ourselves accountable in the fight to eliminate the discrimination and inequality that Ontario’s Black community continues to endure,” she  added.

Michael Coteau, Minister responsible for Anti-Racism, noted that ” the persistence of anti-Black racism in Ontario hinders not just Black people, but everyone in our province.

“When we all have equitable access to life’s many opportunities, we can reach our full potential as a society.”

Between 2001 and 2016, Ontario’s Black population increased by more than 50 per cent, to approximately 627,000, or 5 per cent of  the population of the province.

By 2036, racialized people will account for an estimated 48 per cent of Ontario’s population.