ARCHIVED – Annual Report on the Operation of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act 2008-2009

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Part II: Implementation of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act across federal institutions

2.5 Education and outreach

Targeted education and outreach initiatives help combat racism and discrimination.
 
Federal institutions undertake targeted education and outreach activities to promote diversity awareness and to better communicate their programs and services. This section highlights the activities of federal institutions in this area during the reporting period.

The Department of Canadian Heritage (Large~2,420) supported the Dominion Institute’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Education Project. This educational campaign used a combination of classroom presentations, an outreach campaign, education materials and a high-profile media event to raise awareness of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

The Department also funded a number of new projects to promote human rights in various communities in Canada, including immigrant communities. For example, the Montréal-based theatre troupe Mise au jeu Montréal, in collaboration with the Ligue des droits et libertés, put on the theatre-forum Pidesc’quoi, Nos droits sont-ils en bon état? (Pidesc’quoi, Are our Rights in Good Shape?). The theatre targeted ethnocultural communities, among others, and engaged them in a discussion of human rights.

The International Development Research Centre (Small~370), through its grants and funding programs, supports Canadians in better understanding the different political, social, economic and cultural realities of various regions of the world, including that of Aboriginal peoples in Canada, and assists in developing the various Canadian diaspora communities.

This educational campaign used a combination of classroom presentations, an outreach campaign, education materials and a high-profile media event to raise awareness of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

In 2008–2009, the Centre contributed to a range of initiatives, including:

  • Symposium on Transnational Citizenship and the African Diaspora. The symposium brought together scholars, policy makers, NGOs, African diplomats and community organizations to engage critically with the complexities of transnational citizenship among first-generation continental Africans in the diaspora.
  • « Un cégep ouvert sur le monde. » The international office of the Cégep de l’Outaouais and the Institut Dialogue et Paix set up a program to facilitate the integration of immigrants into the labour market and the cooperative movement in the region. Thanks to this project, a set of intercultural teaching modules was were developed in the fields of communication, conflict management and relational effectiveness.

In cooperation with the Association for Canadian Studies, the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (Small~6) organized four workshops on Canadian identity, multiculturalism and the media at the Association’s conference in the fall of 2008 in Québec City. The workshops provided the Foundation with the opportunity to promote and discuss policies and practices related to multiculturalism and Canadian identity.

The workshop provided an opportunity to discuss the challenges and benefits of an increasingly diverse work force and how various ideas and backgrounds can lead to improved organizational performance.

Veterans Affairs Canada (Large~4,150) held a national Employment Equity and Diversity forum in Montréal in June 2008. Entitled The Power of Diversity, the forum featured presentations from a number of experts, and gave Veterans Affairs staff across Canada an opportunity to discuss a series of topics related to diversity, including regional best practices, recruitment and retention, and implementation of the Employment Equity and Diversity Plan.

A national leadership conference for executives at Public Works and Government Services Canada (Large~12,850) was held in May 2008, featuring a workshop entitled Managing Diversity of Ideas and Backgrounds — Going Beyond Employment Equity. The workshop provided an opportunity to discuss the challenges and benefits of an increasingly diverse work force and how various ideas and backgrounds can lead to improved organizational performance. The workshop participants were asked to reflect on what they, as leaders, can do to support a workplace culture that is inclusive and supportive of diversity.

The Canada School of Public Service (Medium~800) disseminates information on multiculturalism and cultural diversity issues to public servants on an ongoing basis through its Diversity Program.

The symposium brought together scholars, policy makers, NGOs, African diplomats and community organizations to engage critically with the complexities of transnational citizenship among first-generation continental Africans in the diaspora.

During 2008–2009, the School also organized a series of armchair discussions, providing public servants with a forum to discuss ethnocultural topics, policies and programs related to diverse communities.

Five events were held during the reporting period, including Aboriginal Participation in the Public Service; How Strangers Become Neighbours: Integrating Immigrants Through Community Development; and Theory and Practice of Citizenship in the 21st Century.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (Large~7,000) extended the reach of its Be Aware and Declare campaign by investing $120,000 in additional advertising on ethnic television stations across Canada in November 2008 and again in March 2009.

In using ethnic media, the campaign was able to extend the reach of traditional English and French advertising to multicultural Canadians who may be planning visits or receiving visitors from overseas to inform them of the requirement to declare all food, plants and animals when entering Canada. The ad was presented in eight languages for television, including Arabic, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish and Vietnamese.

As well, the Agency translated its Be Aware and Declare brochure into 12 additional languages so that it is now available in 24 languages.

In 2008–2009, the Canada Revenue Agency (Large~45,600) delivered 3,636 sessions to all Canadians and members of various ethnic and cultural groups on topics ranging from taxation issues for seniors, medical expenses and the disability tax credit, to starting a business and how to remit payroll deductions. Included in the sessions, 69 events were specifically targeted to Aboriginal individuals, businesses, organizations and bands. Also, 209 sessions were recorded as targeted to newcomers, and 123 to ethnocultural and Inuit audiences. The total number of participants attending the ethnic and cultural group session was 10,641 out of 86,613 participants reached through outreach activities.

During the reporting period, the Agency also expanded its Outreach Program through partnership opportunities with other government departments, such as CIC, in order to provide an even better service to newcomers to Canada. offices across Canada work with the New Immigrant Settlement Programs to provide Welcome to Canada seminars on a regular basis. Many offices have delivered other seminars, such as the Small Business Information seminar to Welcome Centre and community organizations, the Overview of Canada Revenue Agency Electronic Services to new business immigrants, and Child and Family Benefit seminars to new mothers from the multicultural centres. International students at universities are given information sessions to educate them on the benefits of filing a tax return while residing in Canada.

 

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