BLACK HISTORY IN CANADA
For the past 400 years, Black Canadians have faced – and continue to face – prejudice, inequalities, and systemic barriers to full and equal participation in society, dating back to the enslavement of African people in Canada. In many parts of the Commonwealth, the first day of August commemorates the abolishment of Slavery by the British Empire in 1834, this day is also known as "Emancipation Day". Since then, our society has made strides to combat issues that Black Canadians face but more is needed to create an equitable country for all.
On January 30, 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Canada’s recognition of the International Decade for People of African Descent, acknowledging that people of African descent represent a distinct group whose human rights must be promoted and protected. That day, Prime Minister Trudeau pointed to centuries of inherent oppression, systemic racism, and discrimination in this country, disproportionately felt by Black Canadians.
While recognizing the historical scourge of anti-black racism in this country, the Trudeau Government also acknowledged that there is “clearly a lot of work that still needs to be done”. On behalf of Canada Prime Minister Trudeau committed to “a better future for Black Canadians, a future where they experience full and equal participation in society across political, social, and economic life.” To date, these words remain hallow and unfulfilled for many Black Public Service employees whose lives like so many others before, continue to be destroyed by institutional systemic racism and discrimination.
Canada’s Public Service represents itself as a “merit-based, inclusive and non-partisan organization that serves all Canadians”. While laudable as a principle, Black Canadians face a different reality. For Black Public Service Employees, the Federal Government has consistently failed to comply with international obligations and the basic principles of Equality guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights.