A Plan of Action Against Racism

Canada has constitutional and international human rights obligations to prevent racism, protect racialized groups and redress the negative impact of racist laws and policies. In light of these commitments, NAWL wrote to the Minister of Heritage Canada to find out what plan of action and what concrete measures have been put in place to address racism.

The Honourable Sheila Copps
Minister, Heritage Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa (ON) K1A 0H8

RE: A Plan of Action Against Racism

July 29, 2003
Honourable Minister,

I am writing to you today in the name of the Women of Colour Caucus of the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL). NAWL is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of women’s equality in Canada through legal education, research and law reform. NAWL is very concerned about the problems faced by women of colour and women of African and Asian heritage. We are writing to enquire what concrete measures your government is taking to ensure that their rights are protected in Canada.

As you know, Canada has constitutional and international human rights obligations to prevent racism, protect racialized groups and redress the negative impact of racist laws and policies. Indeed, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as the Canadian Human Rights Act provide ample guidance for governmental action. In addition, Canada has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, participated in the recent World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and it has endorsed the Durban Declaration and Plan of Action.

In light of these commitments, NAWL would like to know what plan of action and what concrete measures have been put in place by your Department to address racism? More specifically, we would like to know what issues and themes have been identified for priority follow-up in the Durban Plan of Action? Finally, we would like to know what particular measures your Department plans to undertake to specifically protect and promote the right of women to live without the burdens and barriers of intentional and systemic racism. Have funds been set aside by you to support your plans and if so, how much and through what government mechanisms?

I wish to thank you for your interest in this issue, and I am looking forward to hearing from you on this important issue in the near future.

Yours truly,

Bonnie Diamond
Executive Director
National Association of Women and the Law