2019 Racial Justice Report Card

Colour of Poverty Colour of Change releases the 2019 Racial Justice Report Card which reviews the platform of four political parties (Conservative, Green, Liberal and NDP) on some of the critical realities and concerns of Indigenous communities and People of Colour communities.

Read the Report Card: https://colourofpoverty.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/racial-justice-report-card-federal-election-2019-final-web-upload.pdf

For more information please read: https://colourofpoverty.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/press-release-political-leadership-needed-to-address-racial-inequities.pdf

A Call to End Genocide: COP-COC Statement

A Call to End Genocide: Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change Statement on the Calls For Justice by the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

18 June 2019 / Toronto – Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change (COP-COC) denounces violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people, and also calls on all governments in Canada to act urgently to implement the Calls For Justice presented in “Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls”.

The National Inquiry has concluded that Indigenous Peoples in Canada, and particularly Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people have been subject to a genocide that persists to this day.

While we are not surprised at the finding, we feel shock, sadness and anger at the depth and breadth of the injustice and pain Indigenous Peoples continue to face through ongoing settler colonialism. We offer gratitude and respect to the survivors and families that came forward to share their truth with the National Inquiry and thus with Canadians. We know that the truths of many missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA individuals remain untold, and their lives unaccounted. We are grateful to the thousands of people who contributed in different ways to this process.

COP-COC echoes the Inquiry’s call to end the race-based genocide of Indigenous Peoples, especially women, girls and the 2-Spirited. We echo the call to restore the rights of Inuit, Métis, and First Nations women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people and restore them to their power and place, and for transformative legal and social changes.

Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change believes this is the most urgent priority today for all governments.

The National Inquiry calls for a permanent commitment to ending the genocide through a set of Calls For Justice, and notes that they are legal imperatives that arise from international and domestic human and Indigenous rights laws. Thus Canada is legally obliged to implement the Calls For Justice.

The Calls For Justice are intended for more than governments, institutions and industries. They are also meant for all the residents of these lands and territories – to play our respective parts in transforming systemic and societal values that serve to maintain colonial violence.

The National Inquiry describes the foundational right to self-determination and the importance of conceptualizing rights as founded in all relationships. It calls for a National Action Plan to address violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people, and an Anti-Racism and Anti-Sexism National Action Plan to end racist and sexualized stereotypes of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. The National Inquiry rightfully expects us all to read the Calls and understand and act on our respective obligations.

Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change has over time worked to include the experiences of Indigenous Peoples in our ongoing work at countering the racialization of poverty, racism and colonialism. And we recognize that our efforts at decolonizing our work is ongoing.

The National Inquiry includes Calls For Justice for All Governments; and Calls For Justice: Industries, Institutions, Services and Partnerships. It includes a specific set of Calls For Justice for All Canadians, which will be foundational to our work going forward, and they are reproduced here in full:

15.1 Denounce and speak out against violence against Indigenous women, girls, and

2SLGBTQQIA people.

15.2 Decolonize by learning the true history of Canada and Indigenous history in your local area. Learn about and celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ history, cultures, pride, and diversity, acknowledging the land you live on and its importance to local Indigenous

communities, both historically and today.

15.3 Develop knowledge and read the Final Report. Listen to the truths shared, and acknowledge the burden of these human and Indigenous rights violations, and how they impact Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people today.

15.4 Using what you have learned and some of the resources suggested, become a strong ally.

Being a strong ally involves more than just tolerance; it means actively working to break down barriers and to support others in every relationship and encounter in which you participate.

15.5 Confront and speak out against racism, sexism, ignorance, homophobia, and transphobia, and teach or encourage others to do the same, wherever it occurs: in your home, in your workplace, or in social settings.

15.6 Protect, support, and promote the safety of women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people by acknowledging and respecting the value of every person and every community, as well as the right of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people to generate their own, self-determined solutions.

15.7 Create time and space for relationships based on respect as human beings, supporting and embracing differences with kindness, love, and respect. Learn about Indigenous principles of relationship specific to those Nations or communities in your local area and work, and put them into practice in all of your relationships with Indigenous Peoples.

15.8 Help hold all governments accountable to act on the Calls for Justice, and to implement them according to the important principles we set out.

Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change encourages all members of our network as well as all other residents of Canada to read the entire report as a starting point to acting on the Calls For Justice.

All the materials published by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, including the complete set of Calls For Justice may be found at https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/

Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change (COP-COC) is a community initiative based in the province of Ontario made up of individuals and organizations working to build community-based capacity to address the growing racialization of poverty and the resulting increased levels of social exclusion and marginalization of racialized communities (both Indigenous Peoples and peoples of colour) across the province.

Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change welcomes National Poverty Reduction Strategy

Toronto / August 23, 2018 – Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change (COP-COC) applauds the National Poverty Reduction Strategy (NPRS) launched on August 21, 2018 for its recognition of the unique and disproportionate impact of poverty on Indigenous peoples, and peoples of colour.

We commend the government on taking the bold and historic step of establishing an official Poverty Line for Canada, as well as poverty reduction targets. The government has promised to enshrine these measures, as well as a National Advisory Council on Poverty, in a Poverty Reduction Act to be introduced next year.

We are encouraged by government’s promise to expand the collection of disaggregated data to track progress on poverty reduction, including gender, race and other intersecting identities. This is critically important when considering that racialized poverty is 32% in Canada while, racialized people are only 22.3% of the population. The disparities facing racialized groups are amplified if we take into account such other factors as gender, immigration status, ability, and more.

People of diverse immigration status are presently excluded from many of the poverty reduction measures that are available to all other Canadian residents. While the NPRS mentions poverty reduction efforts must acknowledge the different realities and lived experiences of diverse residents such as refugees and recent immigrants, and mentions the Visible Minority Newcomer Women pilot as an example, it does not commit to removing the systemic legal and policy barriers that exclude them from poverty reduction measures.

In fact the adoption of the Market Basket Measure as the official poverty line could make family reunification through immigration sponsorship even more inaccessible for low-income Canadians.

It is important that these systemic gaps are identified and remedied before they become further entrenched through the promised Poverty Reduction Act.

We urge the government of Canada to adopt the following measures in order to ensure real equity and inclusion in its poverty reduction strategy:

  1. Allow parents with precarious immigration status to qualify for the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) by removing immigration status as an eligibility requirement under the Income Tax Act. At present, even Canadian-born children of parents with precarious immigration status are denied access to the CCB.
  2. Change Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and Old Age Security (OAS) rules so that immigrant seniors are not forced to wait ten years before they can access these benefits.
  3. Open up eligibility criteria for Canada Learning Bond, Pathways to Education, Canada student grants and loans and other student-centered poverty reduction programs so that refugee claimants and other low-income students with precarious immigration status are included.
  4. Ensure that all new poverty reduction initiatives, such as the National Housing strategy and plans for National Pharmacare, do not exclude Canadian residents on the basis of immigration status.
  5. Ensure the expansion of disaggregated data collection and data sources does not inadvertently endanger people with precarious immigration status and put them at risk of deportation.
  6. Attach Mandatory Employment Equity requirements for all jobs created as a result of Federal funding and investments for all public and private projects.

COP – COC welcomes the government’s re-stated commitment to address systemic barriers of racism, starting with a cross-country consultation on a national anti-racism approach. We note with concern however that the consultations were first promised in the February 2018 budget but have yet to take place. We note that the commitment appears to be downgraded from an anti-racism ‘strategy’ to an ‘approach’ and are concerned that change may indicate a reduced commitment to tackling systemic racism and racial discrimination. This is deeply worrying given the clear link between systemic racism, racial exclusion and poverty, including as recognized in the NPRS.

Native Women’s Association of Canada has put forward several recommendations following a country-wide engagement on poverty reduction, and has called for an end to the political disenfranchisement and economic marginalization of Indigenous women. We urge the government to adopt these recommendations going forward, as a way to fulfil the NPRS commitment to address the unique and different realities faced by Indigenous women in Canada.

COP-COC is a province-wide initiative made up of individuals, groups and organizations working to build community-based capacity to address the growing racialization of poverty – for both First Peoples and peoples of colour – and the resulting increased levels of social exclusion and marginalization of racialized communities across Ontario.

Contact:

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

Amy Casipullai – Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants Tel: 416-322-4950 x 239

Mohamed Boudjenane – Canadian Arab Federation, Tel: 416-889-6764