June 8, 2018/Toronto – Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change (COP-COC) calls on the new Provincial Government to make racial justice and racial equity a focal point of its mandate.

COP-COC, a provincial network of individuals and organizations working to build community-based capacity to address racialized poverty and racial inequality, invites the new Ontario Government to work with communities of colour and Indigenous communities to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination and related intolerance.

Over 1/3 of the Ontario population is made up of peoples of colour and Indigenous peoples.  They are also among the most marginalized, as demonstrated by various social, health and economic measures and indicators.

As a group, racialized communities (including both peoples of colour and Indigenous Peoples) experience higher rates of poverty, earn less income, and are more likely to be in precarious employment.  As a result of their economic marginalization, they are also more likely to be in core housing need and have poorer health outcomes.  Racialized group members – in particular Indigenous Peoples and African Canadians – are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice and child welfare systems.

Just prior to the election, the COP-COC hosted a provincial forum bringing together racialized communities members from across Ontario to develop strategies on the promotion of racial equity.  Forum participants want the new Ontario Government to strengthen existing anti-racism measures and introduce new policies and practices to combat systemic racism in all of its forms.

COP-COC calls on the new Ontario Government to:

  • Confirm its commitment to Ontario’s Poverty Reduction strategy, and specifically address the growing racialization of poverty in Ontario.   Among other things, the new Government should confirm its commitment to raising social assistance rates and to advancing income security reform to end poverty for all people in Ontario;
  • Continue to fully implement the Ontario Anti-Racism Strategy, including the mandatory collection of disaggregated ethno-racially-based data by all provincial ministries, offices,  divisions and by the broader public sector;
  • Introduce mandatory employment equity legislation to level the playing field for all equity seeking groups in the labour market – in particular Indigenous Peoples, peoples of colour, women, persons with (dis)abilities and LGBTQ community members;
  • Continue to attach community benefits agreements (CBA’s) – that include employment equity objectives – to all provincially funded investments, initiatives and projects;
  • Continue with the reforms to the criminal justice system and to matters of policing to eliminate all forms of racial profiling and racial discrimination;
  • Continue to invest in legal aid and increase funding for community based legal clinics; and
  • Eliminate the three month OHIP waiting period for newcomers to the province.

Over the next five years, COP-COC will be fully engaged with racialized communities and other allies and partners across Ontario to make sure their issues will be meaningfully and effectively addressed by the new provincial government.

COP-COC will also be working with affected communities on a campaign to push the Federal Government to relaunch Canada’s Action Plan Against Racism (CAPAR), and to ensure that the new CAPAR will mandate and encourage provinces and territories to tackle racism in education, health, criminal justice, and all other areas that fall within their jurisdiction.

For further information, please contact:

Amy Casipullai, OCASI- Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants – 416-524-4950

Avvy Go, Chinese & South East Asian Legal Clinic – 416-971-9674

Shalini Konanur, South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario – 416-487-6371

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