Annual Report on the Operation of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act – 2014-2015 - Building a diverse and inclusive society Canada

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, 2016

Foreword from the Minister

Photo of Minister Mélanie Joly

Having recently taken on the privilege of overseeing Canada’s multiculturalism portfolio, I am pleased to present the 27th Annual Report on the Operation of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act. This report highlights the initiatives undertaken in 2014-2015 by the Government of Canada to advance the objectives of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act by focusing on intercultural and interfaith understanding, shared values, civic pride and our commitment to a peacefully pluralistic society.

In Canada, we are recognized worldwide for our successful approach to multiculturalism, which focuses on building a diverse and inclusive society by promoting and encouraging awareness, understanding and respect for the many different cultures that contribute to the economic and social wealth of our country. While the Government of Canada sets the stage through the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, it is thanks to the full participation of our provincial and territorial partners, stakeholders and the Canadian public that we are able to find unity in our diversity and to learn from one another.

This year, Canada celebrated many important moments for multiculturalism. As part of Asian Heritage Month in May 2014, in addition to recognizing the contributions of Asian Canadians in various fields including military, sport, arts and science, we commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident. In recognition of 2015 as Canada’s Year of Sport, and as part of our commitments under the Federal Cultural Strategy, we funded many multiculturalism events related to the Pan and Parapan American Games. And, we continued our important work with key domestic and international stakeholders, such as the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, to maintain Canada’s place as a world leader in multiculturalism, anti-racism and Holocaust education and awareness.

Through Inter-Action, Canada’s multiculturalism grants and contributions program, we supported events and projects that foster an integrated, socially cohesive society. In 2014-2015, the Government of Canada provided $2.3 million in funding for long-term initiatives. In addition, $1.6 million in funding supported community-based events. These initiatives promoted intercultural understanding and awareness by bringing members of different cultures together and facilitating meaningful dialogue.

In the pages that follow, you will learn more about the numerous initiatives undertaken by the Government of Canada to meet its responsibilities under the Canadian Multiculturalism Act. As Canadians, we know that our country is made stronger because of our diversity, not in spite of it. By working together, we are advancing respect and appreciation for multiculturalism across the country while fostering a sense of inclusion and belonging in all Canadians.

The Honourable Mélanie Joly
Minister of Canadian Heritage

Part One: The multiculturalism program 2014-2015


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CIC released this poster in May 2015 in honor of Asian Heritage Month and the Year of Sport.

Canada’s Multicultural Model

Canada has one of the world’s most admired models of multicultural society. Its increasingly diverse population lives in relative harmony, enjoying equal opportunity and treatment under the law. The success of multiculturalism in Canada has been attributed to the country’s unique history; however, it is also due to a deliberate and intentional framework of legislation, public policies and programs designed to recognize and celebrate the benefits of a society made up of people with a broad variety of experiences, cultures and orientations.

In 1971, Canada was the first country to adopt a multiculturalism policy. In 1988, the policy was enshrined in law with the unanimous adoption by Parliament of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act. The Act is part of a larger legislative framework that includes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Citizenship Act, the Employment Equity Act, the Official Languages Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

While acknowledging the rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada and the special place reserved for official languages, the Canadian Multiculturalism Act recognizes diversity as a fundamental characteristic of Canadian heritage and social identity. Through it, the Government of Canada has committed to promote the full and equitable participation of individuals of all origins, to remove barriers to that participation, and to encourage and support institutions to be respectful and inclusive of the country’s multicultural reality. Most Canadian provinces and territories have also enacted legislation and/or policies to advance multiculturalism ideals. To date, Canada remains one of only a few countries in the world with a formal commitment to the principles of multiculturalism.

Canada’s population is increasingly diverse. According to the 2011 Census, over 200 ethnic origins were represented in Canada and one in five persons in Canada was born outside the country. Members of visible minority groups made up 19% of the population. The 2011 Census also showed increasing religious diversity, with 7% of the population identifying a religious affiliation other than Christian, up from 5% in 2001. Over time, the most prevalent source region of immigrants shifted from Europe to Asia. Asia is shown to be the region of birth of 56.9% of recent immigrants, Europe 13.7%, Africa 12.5%, Caribbean, Central and South America 12.3%, United States 3.9%, and Oceania and others, 0.6%. Population projections estimate that three in ten Canadians will be members of a visible minority group by 2031, and that the proportion of people who affiliate with a religion other than Christian will double by that date to reach 14%.

Region of birth of immigrants by period of immigration

Figure 1: A graphic with the proportions of immigrants to Canada from each region of birth between before 1971 and 2011.

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Text version: A graphic with the proportions of immigrants to Canada from each region of birth between before 1971 and 2011.
  Caribbean, Central and South America Africa Asia (including the Middle East) United States Europe Oceania and other
Before 1971 5.4 1.9 8.5 5 78.3 0.8
1971 to 1980 17.3 5.8 33.8 6.5 35.1 1.4
1981 to 1990 16.7 6 48.8 3.4 24.2 0.9
1991 to 2000 10.9 7.3 59.8 2.2 19 0.8
2001 to 2005 10.5 10.3 60 3.2 15.4 0.7
2006 to 2011 12.3 12.5 56.9 3.9 13.7 0.6

An increasing majority of Canadians identify multiculturalism as one of the most important symbols of the country’s national identity. In 2015, 54% of respondents to Environics’ Focus Canada survey placed this level of importance on multiculturalism, up 5 points from 2012, which was similar to what was recorded in 2010 and 2000.

Internationally, Canada’s pluralistic approach to diversity is ranked very positively and multiculturalism is looked upon with admiration. Queen’s University’s Multiculturalism Policy Index, which monitors the evolution of multiculturalism policies in 21 Western democracies, ranked Canada as one of the top two nations, along with Australia, at three points in time: 1980, 2000 and 2010. In 2011, Canada ranked at the top of OECD countries as the most tolerant in terms of community acceptance of minority groups and migrants (84% compared to the 61% OECD average). The 2015 Legatum Prosperity index™ reports Canada rising to first place in the Personal Freedom sub index, reflecting high scores in measures of tolerance and civil liberties: the country is reportedly the most tolerant of immigrants in the world, and the fifth most tolerant of ethnic minorities.

Multiculturalism program

When the new Cabinet was sworn in on November 4, 2015, responsibility for the Multiculturalism Program was assigned to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (PCH). During the reporting period, responsibility for multiculturalism rested with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

The Program is designed to support the policy objectives set out in the Canadian Multiculturalism Act. The current objectives of the Program are:

  • to build an integrated, socially cohesive society;
  • to improve the responsiveness of institutions to meet the needs of a diverse population; and
  • to actively engage in discussions on multiculturalism and diversity at an international level.

 In support of these objectives, the Multiculturalism Program undertakes four key areas of activity:

  • Managing a grants and contribution program called Inter-Action, which provides funding to not-for-profit organizations, First Nations, provincial, regional and municipal governments and their agencies, individuals and (for grants only) international organizations to undertake projects and events;
  • Conducting public outreach and promotional activities;
  • Helping federal and public institutions to meet their obligations under the Canadian Multiculturalism Act; and
  • Supporting Canada’s participation in international agreements and institutions, such as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

Each year, the Minister responsible for Multiculturalism is required to table a report in Parliament detailing the activities and achievements of the Canadian government and federal institutions in implementing the Canadian Multiculturalism Act.

The 2014-2015 Annual Report on the operation of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act is divided into two sections. Part one highlights key achievements of CIC’s Multiculturalism Program between April 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015. Part two focuses on the activities, challenges and successes of more than 130 federal institutions in meeting their obligations under the Act for the same period.

Inter-action grants and contributions program

Through the Inter-Action Program, Canada’s multiculturalism grants and contributions program, CIC provides funding to support initiatives that foster an integrated, socially cohesive society. The Inter-Action Program has two streams:

The Inter-Action Projects stream provides funding for long-term initiatives with the aim of fostering an integrated, socially cohesive society. In 2014-2015, CIC funded projects in the amount of $2.3M.

The Inter-Action events stream provides funding to community-based events whose intent is to create concrete opportunities for interaction among cultural and faith communities in order to foster one or more of the following: intercultural and interfaith understanding, civic memory and pride, and respect for core democratic values. In 2014-2015, $1.6M was disbursed for such community events across Canada.

Examples of initiatives funded in 2014-2015: Projects Stream

  1. Survivor Testimony Project. Vancouver Holocaust Centre Society for Education and Remembrance, Pan-Canada

    This 18-month-long project by the Vancouver Holocaust Centre Society for Education and Remembrance supported the preservation and pedagogical use of, as well as access to, the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre’s Holocaust survivor testimonies. These testimonies consist of audio and video recordings spanning three decades. In addition to ensuring the digitization of these testimonies and their stewardship over time, the initiative enabled the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre to catalogue its testimonies, making them accessible in support of education, research and remembrance. The Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre also created complementary resources to support the use of testimonies in the classroom that are in keeping with the Centre’s reputation for excellence in the development and delivery of innovative pedagogical materials.

  2. Ensemble for the respect of Diversity. (Previous name: The Tolerance Foundation) ENGAGE-TOI! Province of Quebec

    The Engage-toi! project took place between 2011 and 2014. By the end of the project, approximately 25,000 Secondary III students from 77 schools in the province of Quebec had taken part in the prejudice and human rights awareness workshops called Engage-toi!. Students were informed about and sensitized to the notions of prejudice, discrimination and intolerance. As well, 120 youths from four different types of communities (rural, multiethnic urban, Aboriginal and Anglophone) were selected as ambassadors and trained in leadership and citizenship. Over the three years of the project, they contributed to fostering intercommunity understanding within their schools and to creating an atmosphere in which differences are respected. They received individual coaching to carry out a civic engagement project to foster intercommunity understanding. The partners—the participating schools (Augustin-Norbert- Morin, Henri-Bourassa, La Découverte and Saint-Luc secondary schools, as well as Heritage High School)— contributed to the project by providing the necessary logistical support for the workshops and supporting the concrete actions undertaken by these young ambassadors.

  3. Passages Canada, Historica Canada, Pan-Canada

    The Passages Canada Speakers Bureau has been run by Historica Canada for the last 12 years. The project invites newcomers and established Canadians to share their personal experiences of identity, heritage and immigration with groups of all ages. Passages Canada – 2014-2017 is working with the Speakers Bureau to afford more immigrants and other Canadians an opportunity to share information about their ethno-cultural, religious and linguistic roots with schools and community gatherings. By sharing their struggles, successes and cultural heritage with other Canadians, the speakers foster discussion around Canada’s rich diversity and enhance understanding of the varied cultural communities that make up Canada. More than 1,000 volunteer speakers have shared their personal accounts of cultural identity and heritage in the Passages Canada Story Archive, as well as in person and via video conference with schools and community groups across Canada.

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    Passages Canada Speaker Saa Andrew Gbongbor (middle) with participants at the Story Archive workshop in Fredericton, NB.

  4. Youth link diversity program. Parya Trillium Foundation, York, Ontario

    A two-year intergenerational initiative, the Youth Link Diversity Project engaged ethno-culturally diverse youth, their parents and the York Region community at large. The project featured the following components: workshops, discussion circles, youth-led community-based events, intercultural awareness and intercultural leadership training. Youth worked with one another to design, develop and implement youth-led community activities and events, which were shared with their parents and the community at large. Parents took part in parent-geared workshops which addressed issues of intercultural awareness, leadership and parenting in a multicultural society. As well, parents engaged with one another cross-culturally in facilitated discussion circles in order to enhance their knowledge of issues related to citizenship, civic engagement and social inclusion. The ethno-cultural communities involved were: Chinese, Korean, Iranian, Iraqi, Afghan, Palestinian, Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi, Russian, Bosnian, Serbian, Ukrainian, Indonesian, Filipino and Vietnamese.

  5. Black loyalist heritage society. Black Loyalist Heritage Centre Interpretive Development, Birchtown, NS

    The project called for the development, fabrication and installation of the exhibit components for the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre in Birchtown, Nova Scotia. The project supported the Inter-Acton program’s objective of building an integrated, socially cohesive society through the creation of interpretive media to be used as public educational material and to promote knowledge-sharing initiatives.

    The interpretive components of the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre were developed to depict Birchtown’s history and the contributions Black Loyalists made to Nova Scotia. Canadian audiences will benefit from a permanent interpretive exhibit enabling a deeper understanding and dialogue across cultures. Incorporating a range of technologies, including text panels, artifacts and audio/video equipment, the interpretive exhibition showcases selected elements of the Black Loyalist Journey, historic highlights of the Birchtown settlement and struggle, and the experiences of Black Loyalists including those which occurred beyond Birchtown, Nova Scotia.

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    Names of the Black Loyalists taken from the Book of Negroes and written in the glass floor at the new Black Loyalist Heritage Centre in Birchtown, Nova Scotia.

Events Stream

  1. Foreign ghosts society. Festival Accès Asie Opening Gala, Montreal, Quebec

    Festival Accès Asie held an Opening Gala to kick off Asian Heritage Month and present its activities. There were a number of highlights in May, including a visual arts exhibition, an Asian contemporary dance performance, an Iranian musical duo, an Indonesian cuisine tasting and a Persian film showing. This celebration gave Asian artists the chance to raise their public profiles and increase their visibility in the Quebec media and on the Montreal cultural scene. The event lent itself to cultural exchanges among the participants from 20 Asian countries: East Asia (Japan, China, Korea); South-East Asia (Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore); South Asia (India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka); Central Asia and the Middle East (Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Armenia). Several local and ethnocultural Asian partners were involved in the presentations. Nearly 300 people attended the launch. Posters and brochures were produced for the participants.

  2. Halton Multicultural Council, Multiculturalism Day, Oakville, Ontario

    Multiculturalism Day took place outdoors at Bronte Creek Provincial Park on Friday, June 27, 2014. This public, volunteer-driven, family-oriented event aimed to bring together various communities for cultural showcases, exchanges and celebration of Canada’s multicultural diversity. It attracted 2,000 participants, including newcomers from Arabic, Chinese, South Asian, Filipino, Latin American, Nepali and many other backgrounds.

    Key activities included: interactive cultural booths depicting specific aspects of various cultures/faiths to be shared with others (e.g. Punjabi turban-making, Chinese printing, Peruvian coffee-making, etc.); cultural performances such as Latin American, South Asian and Nepali; community service provider booths to help newcomers learn about available programs; corporate booths such as banks and real estate companies to help newcomers navigate the business world; and children’s/sports activities.

    The event generated greater connections and understanding among diverse residents through cross-cultural learning, recognition of Canada’s cultural pluralism and increased civic pride as Canadians.

  3. Festival folklorique international de Sainte-Marie (Couleurs du Monde). Festival Couleurs du Monde - Saveurs et découvertes, Beauce Region, Quebec

    The Festival Couleurs du Monde - Saveurs et découvertes was held in August 2014 in downtown Sainte-Marie in Beauce. The event was intended to foster intercultural exchange between Beauce’s cultural communities and the region’s founding majority. Activities included various music forms and interactive sessions on traditional Quebec and Colombian cuisines and dances. The sessions served as opportunities for learning and sharing for the benefit of the participants, in a spirit of openness among Quebecers. Several community members had the opportunity to become actively involved in producing event activities. The activities enabled members of the majority group population and of ethnocultural/immigrant population groups to come into contact, get to know one another better and appreciate another. It was an occasion to break down barriers of prejudice and foster greater openness towards each other. About 7,000 people attended the festival.

  4. Sharing our cultures Inc. Sharing Our Cultures 2014, St. John’s, Newfoundland

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    Romanian booth at the Sharing Our Cultures 2014 event in St. John’s, NL

    Sharing Our Cultures Inc. hosted Sharing Our Cultures 2014. This three-day annual showcase of cultures was held in March 2015 in St. John’s, NL. 100 school-age youth participated, including Aboriginal youth from Labrador: 60 youth shared their cultures with 1,200 grade six students and the public (approximately 500) while 40 youth were “tour guides” to small groups of grade six students. Participating youth learned leadership, interpersonal, research, writing, time management and presentation skills. Grade six students interacted with the youth and learned about various aspects of diverse cultures and the value of cultural diversity in Canada. The event, offered free of charge to the public and schools, contributed to building welcoming communities and intercultural understanding between Canadians and newcomers. The event was open to the media and the general public.

  5. Rexdale women's centre. Black History Month Celebration of Cultures, Toronto, Ontario

    “Black History Month Celebration of Cultures” took place on February 20, 2015, and highlighted the historic contributions to Canadian culture by black communities. The event, open to the public, included music performances, theatre presentations, food displays/samples, information booths and poster displays. Attendees belonged to a diverse number of ethno-cultural communities from North Etobicoke, including Punjabi, Tamil, Gujarati, Afghan, Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian, Arabic, West Indian and Spanish.

    The event provided opportunities for members of different cultural communities to exchange information through dialogue about black history in Canada and thereby built bridges between local communities while promoting intercultural understanding between them.

  6. Multicultural association Chaleur region Inc., 2014 Chaleur Region International Festival, Bathurst, New Brunswick

    In June 2014, the Multicultural Association of Chaleur Region, the City of Bathurst and the Greater Bathurst Chamber of Commerce (GBCC) hosted the 2014 Chaleur Region International Festival in Bathurst, NB. The Festival offered a full day of multifaceted activities to celebrate multiculturalism. Activities included 25 kiosks with cultural displays and international food tasting from around the world; workshops in arts and crafts, music and dance; presentations of multicultural music and dance by performing artists of diverse cultural and ethnic origins; a showcase of Micmac First Nation heritage through presentations of food, crafts, workshops, song and dance; and a showcase of the linguistic duality of the Chaleur Region.

    The activities were offered in both official languages, and the organizers reserved a special forum for the Pabineau First Nation to showcase the important historical and cultural contributions it has made to the communities around the Chaleur Region. In addition, the event celebrated the rich cultural contribution of new immigrants within the Chaleur Region, fostered intercultural understanding and appreciation, and strengthened community spirit.

  7. Islamic Social Services association , Multicultural Tea Fest, Winnipeg, Manitoba

    In October 2014, an unprecedented gathering occurred in Winnipeg, where individuals from various cultures demonstrated their traditional tea ceremonies and held conversations to build intercultural understanding. Over 300 participants attended this event at the Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain. The event was open to the public. Participants had the opportunity to play traditional board games and learn about the history of games in particular cultures. Learning stations displayed videos, cultural crafts and artifacts, and educational handouts about each ceremony were available to increase the potential for building intercultural understanding.

    The Multicultural Tea Fest aimed to promote inclusiveness and to build bridges between individuals and communities. The intent of the Islamic Social Services Association (ISSA) was to increase people’s sense of civic pride and enjoyment of living in a country where people can experience the world in their own backyards. By illustrating the multicultural nature of Canadians, ISSA facilitated a celebration of how this diversity enriches people’s experiences in Canada. This event also increased the leadership skills, time management capacity and cross-cultural communication skills of the youth volunteers helping to organize the Tea Fest.

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    Volunteers at Pakistan kiosk at Multicultural Tea Fest October 26, 2014 hosted by Islamic Social Services Association in honour of Islamic History Month Canada.

  8. Family Service Saskatoon. Prairie Prism, Saskatoon, Manitoba

    In September 2014, the third Prairie Prism event was held in conjunction with 15 partner organizations. Approximately 1,000 people of various faiths and cultures shared their cultures through family-friendly interactive learning, conversations, storytelling, children’s activities, performances and food. Display booths provided detailed information about the cultures and about the services available to newcomers, while artisans demonstrated their skills and involved participants in the creative process. Free admission to the event and subsidized transportation increased accessibility for participants.

  9. The ellipsis tree collective theatre company and the national black coalition of Canada (Calgary chapter). The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God, Calgary, Alberta

    The play, The Adventures of a Black Girl in search of God, was held at the Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts in Calgary from September 23 to October 25, 2014. This production coincided with the Adventures Mentorship Program, which provides opportunities for visible minority youth to acquire practical experience within a professional theatre setting. Twenty-one participants were involved in producing this play, intended for an audience of 1,000. Expected outcomes included positive intervention in the lives of young people at risk of alienation from their Canadian heritage, as well as entertainment, education and the ability to build bridges with all Canadians. In addition, this event provided visible minority actors with an opportunity to build their skills, and contributed to the creation of a more diverse community of theatre practitioners and audience members in the city.

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    A scene from the play Adventures of a Black Girl in search of God presented by the Ellipsis Tree Collective Theatre Company and the National Black Coalition of Canada.

  10. Vancouver asian heritage month society. ExplorASIAN, Vancouver, British Columbia

    ExplorASIAN was a month-long event held in the metro Vancouver area to celebrate Asian Heritage Month. ExplorASIAN introduces partnerships with major organizations to build a community where arts, culture, and other contributions are lived, shared and celebrated as an integral part of harmonious diversity in Canada. An estimated 20,000 participants joined explorASIAN, introducing newcomers to Canada’s multicultural society from a Pan Asian perspective. It was a window into the Pan Asian cultural communities, promoting greater understanding and appreciation of their lives in Canada.

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This stamp was released in 2014 in connection with Asian Heritage Month to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident, drawing attention to an exclusionary immigration policy that denied hundreds of Indian migrants’ entry into Canada in 1914, and allowing us to reflect on the contributions that Indo-Canadians have made and continue to make to the building of Canada.

Promoting multiculturalism and integration of new comers

Public education and outreach

CIC engages in activities geared towards informing, educating and consulting Canadians and newcomers on the Department’s services, initiatives and products. In 2014-2015, CIC Communications developed and implemented communication tools and held outreach events across the country to celebrate and promote Canadian citizenship, multiculturalism and immigration. CIC Communications employed nongovernmental partnerships for some of the outreach work.

Examples of public education and outreach activities:

Asian heritage Month

In May 2014, Asian heritage Month focused on the contributions of Canadians of Asian descent in various fields, including the military (specifically the First and Second World Wars), sports, the arts and science. CIC developed and distributed two educational posters, one illustrating the “Celebrate Asian Heritage” theme and the other commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident. These posters were distributed free of charge to teachers, schools and libraries across Canada. CIC also produced an educational video about the Komagata Maru incident which was published online and made available for broadcast as a public service announcement. Additional educational outreach via the Asian Heritage Month website ( AsianHeritageMonth) and social media resulted in over 8,000 web visits that month.

Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism

The annual Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism was launched in 2009 to recognize individuals and groups dedicated to promoting multiculturalism and the integration of newcomers in Canada. The award commemorates the pioneering achievements and the legacy of the late Senator Paul Yuzyk, whose efforts helped lead to the recognition of multiculturalism as one of the fundamental characteristics of Canadian heritage and identity. In October 2014, the 2014 Paul Yuzyk Award was presented to Mr. “Tatay” Tomas Avendaño of Vancouver, British Columbia for Lifetime Achievement. In particular, Mr. Avendaño helped found the Multicultural Helping House Society, which helps immigrants integrate fully into Canadian society, and he has acted as a bridge between Vancouver’s Filipino community and other cultural communities for many years.

In January 2015, CIC announced the launch of the nomination process for the 2015 Paul Yuzyk Award. New in 2015, the process was expanded to allow for nominations in one of three categories: Youth, Organization (Private or Non-profit) or Lifetime Achievement/ Outstanding Achievement, with each award recipient receiving a $10,000 grant to be directed to a registered not-for-profit Canadian organization of their choice. For more information, visit PaulYuzykAward.

Pan and Parapan American Games

Under the Government of Canada’s Federal Cultural Strategy, CIC committed to funding events related to the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games through the Inter- Action Events Program. Activities and events were organized across the country leading up to and during the Games.

CIC – Ontario Region worked directly with Canadian Heritage and Pan Am organizers to help identify and support potential projects connected with the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. This included a joint presentation to over 15 Latin American community organizations in Toronto on August 19, 2014. These cooperative efforts led the region to fund seven Pan Am-related events, including “Drums and Dances of the Americas”. The Lula Music and Arts Centre coordinated a series of three public outdoor workshops in downtown Toronto, celebrating the cultural diversity of the Americas in anticipation of the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. The workshops attracted over 600 youth and families from Mexican, Brazilian, Colombian, Cuban, Caribbean, African, Portuguese and other diverse cultural backgrounds.

In November 2014, CIC also posted on its website videos featuring five Canadian immigrant athletes of diverse cultural backgrounds in the lead-up to the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. These videos highlighted the contributions of this diverse group of Canadian athletes.

Black history month
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In honour of Black History Month and the Year of Sport (2015), CIC released this poster to celebrate contributions of black athletes In Canada.

In February 2015, CIC led the celebration of Black History Month (BHM) under the “Proud of Our History” theme, with a particular focus on the achievements of black Canadian athletes in celebration of 2015 as the Year of Sport in Canada. CIC developed and distributed two new educational posters across the country – the first highlighting the Year of Sport in Canada and the second in recognition of Lincoln Alexander Day (January 21). To further raise awareness of the contributions of Canadians of African and Caribbean descent, CIC posted BHM messages via Twitter throughout February and updated its BHM website ( BlackHistoryMonth), which received more than 59,000 visits that month.

CIC also shared its “On the Road North” travelling photo exhibit, which tells the story of black history in Canada from slavery to freedom and onward to today’s leaders; groups across Canada displayed it at events and in public spaces. This year the exhibit was hosted by the Ontario Black History Society and the Nova Scotia Community College in Dartmouth. It was also featured at the official Government of Canada BHM launch reception at historic St. Lawrence Hall in Toronto.

Guided heritage tours

CIC has partnered with local heritage groups to host guided heritage walking tours in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. These heritage walks give participants the opportunity to experience first-hand how history, geography and society have intertwined and helped to create Canada’s cultural mosaic, all one step at a time.

CIC complementary efforts to promote multiculturalism

Supporting integration of newcomers

CIC’s Settlement and Resettlement Assistance Program assists immigrants and refugees in overcoming barriers specific to the newcomer experience, ultimately supporting their full participation in the economic, social, political and cultural life of Canada. In 2014-2015, CIC invested $575M in settlement and resettlement services, including formal language training; pre- and post-arrival information sessions; employment-related services, including work placements and counselling; community engagement and community partnerships; and needs assessments and referrals to social, economic, education and health services.

In 2014-2015, CIC provided a $340M grant to Quebec for reception services, and linguistic, cultural and economic integration services for eligible newcomers who settle in the province.

Many provinces and territories deliver complementary services for newcomers, as well as providing social supports such as housing, education and health.

In August 2014, CIC launched its first Call for Proposals (CFP) for Pre-Arrival Settlement Services. These services are expected to result in faster and more efficient economic and social integration of newcomers to Canada by effectively addressing needs earlier in the integration continuum and improving linkages between pre-arrival and domestic (in-Canada) services.

The Federal Internship for Newcomers Program provides newcomers with the opportunity to gain temporary work experience within public- and private-sector organizations, and provides interns and their managers with cross-cultural training. It was launched in 2010 and is delivered in Ottawa, the Greater Toronto Area, Vancouver and Victoria. Since 2010, 330 interns have been placed in 28 public- and private-sector organizations within the delivery locations.

In addition, CIC contributes to interdepartmental efforts to help internationally trained individuals get their credentials assessed quickly by providing information, path-finding resources and referral services. These efforts aim to help newcomers join the Canadian workforce, in their field of work whenever possible.

In 2014-15, CIC piloted Alternative Careers for Internationally-Trained Individuals (ITIs) and Career Pathways for Refugees sessions in collaboration with service provider organizations (SPOs) to provide information to newcomers on career pathways. Employers and regulators are invited to deliver presentations on transferable skills, and newcomers have the opportunity to network as well as learn about career opportunities within various organizations. To date, CIC has piloted 18 alternative career / career pathway sessions in Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, Calgary, Vancouver, Sudbury, Hamilton, London, Windsor and Winnipeg.

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A citizenship judge talks to a class of newcomers about the value of Canadian citizenship and the process of becoming a Canadian citizen. Presentation by Citizenship Judge Normand Vachon at Mason Education Center, Settlement Service, Windsor, ON (April 15, 2015).

The International Qualifications network is an online forum where employers, regulatory bodies, governments and immigrant-serving organizations can share best practices in foreign credential assessment and recognition. In 2014-15, 31 new best practice submissions were reviewed for the annual IQN awards process, yielding 14 nominations and 4 award winners.

Citizenship as a milestone in the integration process

Citizenship is not the end of the immigration continuum, but rather an important milestone in the integration of newcomers. CIC’s Citizenship Program administers citizenship legislation and promotes the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship to both newcomers and establsished Canadians.

The Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act received Royal Assent on June 19, 2014, representing the first comprehensive reform to the Citizenship Act since 1977. The Act was amended in part to strengthen the requirements for citizenship. For example, a wider age bracket of individuals now has to meet the Canadian citizenship language and knowledge requirements in order to acquire citizenship. Both younger and older applicants will be better prepared to take on their responsibilities of citizenship, to enter the work force and to avoid isolation as well as alienation. Furthermore, new residency requirements will require citizenship applicants to be physically present in Canada for a longer period of time before they apply.

CIC continued its efforts to promote the understanding of citizenship rights and responsibilities and to reinforce its value among Canadians by organizing various events and by developing materials and projects that are also focused on enhancing knowledge of Canada’s values, history, symbols and institutions.

Strengthening the essential knowledge base for citizenship is a key activity for CIC. CIC’s citizenship study guide, Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship, is one of the main tools used to build that knowledge base for all Canadians, both new citizens and established Canadians. Discover Canada emphasizes the important role that multiculturalism has played in building Canadian diversity. It also highlights key moments in Canadian history, Canadian laws and values, including equality between women and men, and the role of civic participation in Canadian society. It also draws a portrait of how, for the past 200 years, millions of newcomers from across the world have helped build and defend our way of life. “Together, these groups, sharing a common Canadian identity, make up today’s multicultural society”.

Discover Canada also celebrates the achievements of diverse Canadians of different origins who have contributed to building a unique Canadian identity through excellence in sport, government, science and the arts. Discover Canada is not only a study guide that citizenship applicants must study to pass their citizenship test, but it is also used by organizations such as schools, libraries, and settlement organizations to educate Canadians and newcomers.

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The commemorative plaque that was placed at over 100 locations across Canada on August 22, 2014 at 11h00 local time, from coast to coast, starting with Amherst, Nova Scotia and ending in Nanaimo, British Columbia, two of the 24 internment camp sites of the Great War period.

In 2014-2015, CIC distributed approximately 92,000 printed copies and 367 audio copies of Discover Canada. In addition, the Discover Canada digital version in PDF format was downloaded 400,000 times. In HTML format, the book was seen 240,000 times, and 200,000 times in audio format. The eBook format has been downloaded 15,000 times.

In 2014-2015, CIC and its partners delivered citizenship ceremonies in communities across the country. These ceremonies provide Canadians with the opportunity to reaffirm their citizenship alongside those receiving Canadian citizenship.

With the legislative change that came into force in June 2014, citizenship judges took on an enhanced role in promoting Canadian citizenship and raising awareness of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship among newcomers and established Canadians. Tools were produced to help judges plan and hold outreach events. In 2014-2015, judges made over 500 public presentations, partnering with community organizations, cultural groups and other interested parties. These public events reached at least an estimated 50,000 people across the country.

At these events, judges explain that people of all origins can participate in and contribute to Canadian society because of the rights and freedoms they are guaranteed in Canada, including freedom of religion, official language rights, equality of men and women, and multiculturalism as a fundamental characteristic of the Canadian heritage and identity.

Key domestic and International Partners

Canada works in partnership with several key national and international organizations to advance the objectives of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act.

Key partnerships are listed below:

The Canadian First world war Internment Recognition Fund

The Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund was created in 2008 with a $10 million endowment from the Government of Canada to support projects that commemorate the experiences of Canada’s ethnocultural communities affected by Canada’s First World War internment policies.

In 2014-2015 the Fund continued to support a five-year national plan to teach young people and educators about Canada’s internment operations. The centennial anniversary of Canada’s first national internment operation was commemorated at more than 100 locations across Canada, and 22 new grants totaling $333,412 were approved to fund various projects, including: historical exhibits, books and publications, commemorative events, internee cemeteries, films, historical research, and national educational curriculum strategies. In 2014-2015, 14 previously approved grant projects came to fruition.

The Canadian Race Relations Foundation
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Citizenship reaffirmation ceremony with Senior Judge Renata Brum Bozzi in Ottawa during the Our Canada Project symposium, November 2014.

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(from left to right) Dr. Jane Jenson, Dr. Rajeev Bhargava and Dr. Charles Taylor discuss pathways to inclusive citizenship in India and Canada at the Pluralism Forum.

The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) is a Crown corporation created by the Government of Canada with a $24 million endowment as part of the 1988 Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement. Its mission is to help eliminate racism and all forms of discrimination in Canadian society.

In 2014-2015, the CRRF continued to address racism and discrimination issues by promoting dialogue and civic engagement among and between faith-based communities across Canada. The CRRF sharpened its focus on promoting inclusive citizenship and belonging through a new, three-year multiculturalism funded project. The “Our Canada” project is designed to heighten awareness and understanding of, and respect for, Canadian values and traditions through ten pan-Canada initiatives to engage people in discussions and activities that promote core Canadian values, civic engagement and Canada’s diversity as a national asset. Other key activities carried out by CRRF in 2014-2015 included hosting a three-day symposium, undertaking a series of roundtables on topical issues across Canada, adding 123 new resource records to its clearinghouse database (which now includes almost 3,200 articles) and re-launching its bi-annual journal Directions: a forum for research, dialogue and debate on race-related issues.

The Global Centre for Pluralism

The Global Centre for Pluralism (GCP) is an independent, not-for-profit, Canadian corporation founded by His Highness the Aga Khan in partnership with the Government of Canada. The mission of the GCP is to promote pluralism internationally as a fundamental human value. The GCP works in partnership with change leaders around the world to foster dialogue and research about the benefits of diversity.

In 2014 the GCP continued to define an approach to global engagement through programming in Kyrgyzstan and Kenya, elaborated its pluralism drivers framework and formed an international working group to support research initiatives with scholars from four continents, sponsored an Annual Lecture featuring UN High Commissioner Antonio Guterres and hosted two Pluralism Forums, one on pluralism and public accountability in Kenya and the other on building blocks of inclusive citizenship in Canada and India.

The International holocaust Remembrance Alliance

Canada is a member of this unique organization through which diplomats, government policy makers and domain experts meet. Through its membership, Canada has the opportunity to share its expertise in Holocaust education, research and remembrance, and plays a central role as a conciliator and bridge builder.

In 2014-2015, an evaluation covering the five-year period of Canada’s membership in the IHRA was carried out. The evaluation found that there is a continued relevance for Canada to be a member of the IHRA in order to support Holocaust education, research and remembrance in Canada and abroad, and that membership in the IHRA is aligned with the priorities of the Government of Canada, CIC and the Office of Religious Freedom and with the role of the federal government with respect to the promotion of multiculturalism. The evaluation did not examine the IHRA itself, the specific activities funded by the IHRA, or the program initiatives undertaken in Canada.

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IHRA Plenary Meetings, 1-4 December 2014, Manchester UK.

International Convention on the elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) is a United Nations Convention that promotes and encourages universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction based on race, sex, language or religion. Canada made its formal acceptance of the Convention, officially known as accession, in October 1970.

CIC coordinates the federal activities related to the implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). In 2014-2015 the Multiculturalism Program consulted with partner departments regarding progress in responding to recommendations from the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in preparation for Canada’s 21st and 22nd periodic reports to the CERD on implementation of the ICERD in Canada.

Each international human rights covenant or convention requires States Parties to submit periodic reports on the State’s progress on implementing its provisions. For each covenant or convention, a special UN committee has been set up to review the reports. Once reports are submitted to the appropriate UN committee, the latter schedules a review of the report. Reports may be reviewed from a few months to a year after they are submitted, depending on the committee’s schedule.

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


The Canadian Multiculturalism Act targets the preservation and enhancement of multiculturalism in Canadian society. The Minister responsible for the Act is mandated to promote the implementation of the multiculturalism policy of Canada across government institutions, and to report on their programs, policies and practices in support of the policy.

Part Two of this report provides a sample of multiculturalism activities directly related to the requirements outlined in the Act and undertaken by a range of federal institutions.

This section of the report provides examples of policies, programs and practices that listed federal institutions have employed to support the implementation of the multiculturalism policy at the local, regional, national and international levels. These examples are grouped according to the following six elements identified in subsection 3(2) of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act which states that it is the policy of the Government of Canada that all federal institutions shall:

  1. ensure that Canadians of all origins have an equal opportunity to obtain employment and advancement in those institutions;
  2. promote policies, programs and practices that enhance the ability of individuals and communities of all origins to contribute to the continuing evolution of Canada;
  3. promote policies, programs and practices that enhance the understanding of and respect for the diversity of the members of Canadian society;
  4. collect statistical data in order to enable the development of policies, programs and practices that are sensitive and responsive to the multicultural reality of Canada;
  5. make use, as appropriate, of the language skills and cultural understanding of individuals of all origins; and
  6. generally, carry on their activities in a manner that is sensitive and responsive to the multicultural reality of Canada.

For the 2014-2015 reporting period, 131 federal institutions responded to a call-out for input to the annual report on the operation of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act. This number represents a 92% response rate up from 80% in the previous reporting year. A list of these federal institutions can be found in Annex A.

Ensuring equal opportunity for employment and advancement in federal institutions

During the 2014-2015 fiscal year, federal institutions continued to work towards a workforce that is reflective of Canada’s diverse population. In keeping with the requirements of the Employment Equity Act that identifies women, Aboriginal people, persons with disabilities and members of visible minority groups as individuals who should benefit from proactive employment practices that contribute to increasing diversity in the workforce to mirror society, federal institutions continue to consider other characteristics of diversity when establishing employment-related policies, practices and programs.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) developed a new Employment Equity and Diversity Action Plan 2015-2016 to 2017-2018: For the first time, a formal diversity section is included in the action plan. The new plan is designed to address areas of underrepresentation and to reduce employment barriers for employment-equity designated group members. The plan supports equality in the workplace, whereby all employees have equal access to employment opportunities. The diversity component aims to create a work environment where the benefits of diversity and inclusion are understood and integrated within the CRA’s culture.

Similarly, Via Rail Canada has developed a new Inclusion and Diversity Program. The overall goal is to bring the organization beyond compliance with the Employment Equity Act to create an inclusive culture where all differences are embraced, leading to a workforce that is truly representative of the society in which Via Rail Canada operates and of the clients it serves. Two networks were created to advance the program: a regional network made up of members from across the country promotes diversity and multiculturalism at the grassroots level and leads initiatives within specific regions, and a national committee of influential leaders has the mandate of promoting and supporting diversity and inclusion at a strategic level at VIA Rail Canada.

To ensure that Defence Construction Canada (DCC) is equipped to help all employees develop to their full potential and to maintain a strong pool of leadership candidates, the organization launched the Leadership Development Program in 2014. This national program, which is linked with DCC’s succession plan, ensures that consistent quality leadership is cultivated across the organization and promotes equal opportunity for advancement. DCC continues to work to ensure that employees from all backgrounds can take part in the program if they wish. Of the 136 participants thus far, more than one third are women and members of visible minority groups. This is a good representation of the DCC workforce, as nearly 40% of employees are women, nearly 10% are members of visible minority groups, and 4% are Aboriginal Canadians.

The Canada Mortgage and housing Corporation (CMHC) developed and executed a new initiative to foster a corporate environment that supports employment equity. The Mental Health Initiative offers employees a broad array of programming, awareness tools and services to promote and support a psychologically safe and healthy workplace, increase awareness and reduce stigma associated with mental illness. CMHC’s Mental Health Initiative is led by a National Committee on Mental Health and Wellness (an employee-led committee with representatives from across the country), in partnership with mental health leaders (Shepell, Great West Life, LifeSpeak, Not Myself Today Campaign and Royal Ottawa).

The national Capital Commission, Communications Security Establishment, Public Sector Pension Investment Board, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Department of Justice Canada, Patented Medicine Prices Review Board and National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada are among institutions that enrolled their staff and management in unconscious bias training, inclusion and diversity courses in order to promote a culture of inclusion, a harassment- free environment in the workplace, fair and transparent recruitment and promotion processes, as well as understanding of mental health and cultural differences.

Enhancing the ability to contribute to continuing evolution of Canada

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Jane Rooney, Canada’s Financial Literacy Leader, with two recipients of the AFOA-Potash Corp Aboriginal Youth Financial Management Awards in February 2015.

Federal institutions have initiated and/or revised programs, policies and practices that give individuals and communities of all backgrounds opportunities to participate in all spheres of life in Canada.

Federal institutions held consultations and/or engaged in partnerships to ensure that the needs of diversity are met:

The Financial Literacy Leader of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada conducted a series of stakeholder consultations across the country to determine the financial literacy needs of priority groups including newcomers, Aboriginal peoples and seniors. Findings were reflected in the seniors’ financial literacy strategy published in October 2014, and form part of the national strategy for financial literacy published in June 2015.

The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) actively engaged in consultations with a number of business communities of all origins across Canada to help the Canadian diplomatic community better understand cultural issues in addition to contributing to successful business opportunities for Canadian companies and promoting Canada’s diplomacy, trade and development agenda. The business communities are: Filipino (Winnipeg and Vancouver), Asian (Vancouver and Surrey), Palestinian (Greater Toronto Area), Israeli, Algerian, Lebanese, Libyan, Kuwaiti and Iraqi, and also include the Canada-China Business Council, Canada-India Business Council, Asia-Pacific Foundation, Canada-Japan Society of BC, Canada-Korea Business Association, Canada-Australia Business Association and New Zealand Business Association.

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Jacques Matte, research scientist, in conversation with students during an open house event celebrating the AAFC’s Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre.

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) partnered with two immigrant-serving organizations in Alberta to provide mentors who offer development support to new immigrants. The same mentoring program is in place in British Columbia, the Prairies and the Atlantic provinces. Account managers participated in a three-to-four-month mentoring relationship with new immigrants.

Federal institutions implemented policies, practices and programs that enhance the ability of diverse members of society to contribute to the evolution of Canada:

In 2014-2015, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada launched the Canadian Financial Literacy Database, a one-stop source for information on money management, saving, investing, fraud prevention and more. Information is submitted on Canadian resources and events. In only five months, the database published over 860 resources and over 1,375 events. Of those, approximately 114 resources and 217 events were targeted at newcomers.

On behalf of the office of the Registrar of the supreme Court of Canada and as part of its guided tour program, the Supreme Court of Canada hosts groups of students enrolled in French immersion programs and provides tours for them in their second official language. In addition, the Supreme Court of Canada currently has a pilot project underway offering a guided virtual tour of the Court via the Web. The guided virtual tours are currently being tested, and eight have been offered to students in North Bay and Sturgeon Falls. They were provided in French to target the French language minority community of North Bay. This initiative offers a guided tour of the Supreme Court of Canada to many different schools without them having to worry about financial cost, travel issues and any other factors that could otherwise hinder accessibility.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) supported linguistic duality and multiculturalism by engaging with educational institutions in official language minority communities while opening new scientific horizons to young people. In October 2014, students from regional Anglophone secondary schools, colleges and universities, as well as Anglophone students from McGill University and the University of Guelph, were invited to take part in an open house event commemorating the 100th anniversary of AAFC’s Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Over 1,000 students participated in activities using intriguing objects and images specifically aimed at piquing young people’s curiosity to look, listen and discover agricultural science.

In November 2014, the Canadian broadcasting Corporation (CBC) held its second annual CBC Match-Up event in which writers, producers and directors from visible minorities and First Nations are invited to the CBC to network with creative decision-makers and a number of key production partners. Nearly 100 people took part in the event, which was a great success, leading to six program ideas being formally pitched to CBC creative directors.

Striking partnerships and supporting community and other organizations to undertake initiatives that enhance the ability of individuals and/or communities of diverse origins to contribute to the evolution of Canada:

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Atlantic Canada opportunities Agency supported the Nunatsiavut Government in promoting and facilitating the creation and growth of sustainable Inuit businesses in the five Inuit communities along the north coast. This partnership with the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Community Business Development Corporations offered the Youth Ventures program to Nunatsiavut youth for the first time. The plan is to make this an annual initiative. In addition, the Nunatsiavut Government maintained the Inuit Business Registry, provided business counselling and after-care services and participated in networking activities.

Under the Western Diversification Program, western economic development (WD) invested $1.5M in the Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia (AtBC) to grow and develop the Aboriginal cultural tourism industry in B.C. The project, which is part of AtBC’s five-year Aboriginal Cultural Tourism Strategy, will ensure that visitors receive a world-class Aboriginal cultural tourism experience through the development and implementation of authenticity and quality assurance programs. Through the creation of marketing campaigns, Aboriginal cultural tourism businesses will improve their ability to reach growing international tourism markets.

The Public health Agency of Canada provided about one million dollars in HIV funding to 12 ethnocultural, Aboriginal, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Queer (LGBTQ) organizations in Ontario to deliver 39 culturally and linguistically appropriate projects on HIV prevention, education, care and support programming to HIV+ and at-risk members of their ethnocultural communities.

The Federal economic development Agency for southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) held outreach activities with Francophone communities in southern Ontario to encourage the development of economically relevant projects. Increasingly, the Francophone populations in these areas are seeing larger numbers of visible minority Francophones immigrating to Canada. As a result of its efforts, FedDev Ontario approved five projects in 2014-2015, for a total commitment of nearly $3.7 million. These projects are improving access to business and entrepreneurship services and training, increasing access to capital, supporting applied research partnerships for new and existing Francophone entrepreneurs, and supporting an internship program for Francophone youth.

Enhancing cross-cultural understanding and respect for diversity

In collaboration with Science North, the Canadian Museum of nature (CMN) has co-produced a new traveling exhibit called Arctic Voices. The exhibit is a scientific and cultural journey that uses interactive experiences, photos, videos and real specimens to convey that the Arctic is more than just snow—it is land, water and ice. It is home to people and a surprising diversity of wildlife. It is a place of rapid change that is being studied and monitored by scientists.

Visitors to Arctic Voices will be able to challenge their perceptions of the Arctic and discover a colourful land that is actually closer to their own backyard than they might think. They will hear from the people who inhabit this region, as they share their knowledge about the land and their unique culture. They can even test their voice at throat singing, a traditional art with modern applications. Visitors also have the opportunity to pounce, hop, push and crawl their way through animal life in the Arctic, and come face to face with a polar bear. Or, they can travel with scientists as they catch and tag Arctic whales, and then go on a “garden tour” to see how plants have adapted to survive and thrive in this harsh environment.

Through its product development and marketing efforts, the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) has implemented new products which focus on different nationalities and cultures and support the designated groups. For example, in 2014 the RCM launched the Canadian Monuments: National Aboriginal Veterans Monument coin. This 2-oz fine silver coin is an iconic symbol of First Nations culture. It also launched the Chinese Lunar Coin, which featured the Year of the Horse. These products and marketing efforts demonstrate the RCM’s commitment to promoting various cultures in Canada and provide opportunities for relationships with other ethnic communities.

The Canadian human Rights Commission (CHRC) hosted a national conference on inclusion and creating respectful workplaces. Delivered in partnership with diverse stakeholders such as transgender individuals and mental health advocates, this conference allowed the CHRC to bring light to important human rights issues and to work with stakeholders to improve services and employment for all Canadians.

The department of Justice Canada’s Multiculturalism Champion has been very active in ensuring that the Department continues to support its employees in actively integrating multiculturalism in their policy and program work, as well as in its corporate culture. Apart from significant employment equity initiatives carried out by the Human Resources Branch, the Multiculturalism Champion focuses on the integration of multiculturalism principles in the content of the work carried out. To this end, a number of tools and resources are provided by the Multiculturalism Champion. These include a Multiculturalism Calendar, the Champion’s intranet page and a Common Policy Considerations Reference Chart. These provide employees with relevant information and tools to ensure an inclusive workplace and policies.

The Communications security establishment (CSE) organized a Diversity Week whose objective was to highlight the various dimensions and business value of diversity at CSE. Activities included the following events:

  • Diversithé (International Coffee & Tea Tasting to sample coffee and teas from around the globe);
  • the chance to “Leave your Mark on the Diversity Map” (world maps on which employees ‘pinned’ the location of their family’s ancestry and wrote the country name in the home language of that nation); and
  • the opportunity to contribute to the conversation on diversity and inclusion through online forums, blogs and articles posted throughout the week (e.g. trans issues; Aboriginal awareness week; accessible documents). In addition, the 2014 Diversity Week raised awareness of the need for accessible documentation for persons with disabilities in a blog aimed at leveraging diversity, fostering inclusiveness and making information accessible for all employees.
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Hannah Godefa, Canadian born UNICEF Ambassador to Ethiopia, speaking at the Strong Girls, Strong World event in Toronto, ON, on Wednesday, October 22, 2014.

On October 22, 2014, status of women Canada hosted the “Strong Girls, Strong World” event that brought together girls from diverse backgrounds and influential Canadians to explore important issues facing girls in Canada and globally. The event featured a diverse group of students and presenters and explored five themes important to girls and young women: violence, leadership, entrepreneurship, education and healthy living. The perspective of diversity in Canada was presented through young women speakers who discussed their own engagement on issues that affect girls’ rights. For example, a keynote speech by Hannah Godefa, UNICEF National Ambassador to Ethiopia, inspired leadership and commitment among participants.

The Canadian Museum of history developed a travelling exhibition (“Kids Celebrate!”) that invites children and their families to explore the wonderful diversity of different celebrations with hands-on activities, interactive workshops and special artifacts. The exhibition helps visitors discover both commonalities and differences among various celebrations (i.e., Hanukkah, Eid al-Fitr (Ramadan Day), Christmas, Easter and Hina-Matsuri (Doll’s Day)) and realize that the tradition of celebrating is something everyone shares. The exhibition shows how celebrations are more than just fun and games — they are community and family rituals derived from ancient traditions.

Collecting statistical data and conducting research

With the help of an external consultant, Farm Credit Canada (FCC) undertook the process of updating its employment equity plan. FCC’s intention was to better understand the experience of employees who identified as members of either visible minority groups, Aboriginal peoples or persons with disabilities, especially at specific levels where representation did not match the labour force availability. Focus group results led to measures that were incorporated into FCC’s 2014-15 diversity strategy, expanding and intensifying FCC’s current diversity training offerings to include cross-cultural competency and monitoring the diversity composition of its talent programs (for example, leadership development, succession planning, etc.).

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) conducted Public Opinion Research (POR) to assess the effectiveness of three FCAC tools: the Credit Card Selector Tool, the Account Selector Tool and the newly developed Canadian Financial Literacy Database. The POR included six in-person focus groups in three cities across Canada. One of the focus groups consisted solely of newcomers to Canada, who provided feedback and insight as to what information newcomers would like, how they would use the selector tools, and what additional information or functionality would be helpful to them.

Correctional service Canada (CSC) conducted two research projects relating to ethnocultural offenders’ risk and need profiles, as well as their social histories. The results were presented at a meeting of CSC’s National Ethnocultural Advisory Committee. These research findings will be useful in ethnocultural offender case management and correctional planning. Additionally, CSC differentiates results between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal offenders in all research materials and reports where possible. This practice enables CSC to identify areas of concern or best practices related to Aboriginal corrections. CSC also reports on results for Aboriginal offenders within the Departmental Performance Report, which is tabled annually in Parliament.

The Commissioner of the office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada undertook a Canada-wide priority-setting exercise that targeted representatives of government, the private sector, civil society, consumer groups, academia and our provincial and territorial counterparts. The Office heard about the need to pay special attention to the needs of various groups whose privacy may be more impacted by certain policies, practices or technology within both the public and private sectors. At the end of May 2015, the Commissioner unveiled the Office’s new privacy priorities, as well as the strategies to address them. The priorities are;

  • the economics of personal information,
  • government surveillance,
  • reputation and privacy, and
  • the body as information

Leveraging language skills and cultural understanding

The Public sector Investment board makes many international investments, and these necessitate not only foreign language skills, but also a thorough cultural understanding of the countries the Board works with in order to facilitate successful negotiations and professional networking. The Board leverages the language and cultures of its existing employees, and in some cases makes knowledge of different languages and cultures a requirement for new hires. This ensures maximizing investment returns to best serve Canadian beneficiaries.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) continued to collaborate closely with Aboriginal community partners on various projects related to traditional Aboriginal agri-food product processing. In particular, AAFC and Aboriginal partners worked to develop procedures aimed at highlighting agricultural production of a combination of crops (i.e. corn, squash and beans) that are significant to Aboriginal peoples. Aboriginal representatives ensured that practices and processes were sustainable and culturally acceptable, and that they responded to their needs. These Aboriginal representatives came from various communities, including non-profit organizations such as the Agricultural Society for Indigenous Food Products, an organization that comprises Hurons-Wendat Mohawks and Abanaki nations.

Transport Canada’s (TC) employees have the opportunity to advertise their skills in foreign languages via an internal network, so that managers who would need these skills for a specific project may contact them. Within the International Relations and Gateway Initiatives Directorate, TC leverages the diverse backgrounds and language capabilities of its employees to facilitate the department’s work in culturally diverse settings. TC has employees with language capabilities that include Mandarin, Arabic, Italian, Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, Macedonian and Portuguese. Cultural training has also been included as part of the learning plans of some employees in order to support the building of working relationships between TC and its foreign partners.

Correctional services Canada (CSC) has national and regional ethnocultural advisory boards that serve as fora to provide advice to CSC’s Commissioner regarding programs and services for the reintegration of ethnocultural offenders into the community. These committees are made up of influential members of the community who come from a variety of ethnocultural backgrounds or have experience working on issues related to ethnocultural communities. These committees strive to create connections between CSC and ethnocultural communities, as well as ensure that the make-up of the CSC workforce is representative of the diversity of the Canadian offender population. The advice and recommendations provided by the committee members are useful tools that help guide CSC in adapting as effectively as possible to the growing demographic changes in the offender population.

The Financial transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FIntRAC) is able to provide information to partners and reporting entities in multiple languages thanks to FINTRAC staff’s capacity to communicate in 30 languages in addition to English and French. The pamphlet “Your Money Services Business in Canada: What you need to know” is also available in a variety of languages. Additionally, FINTRAC is able to receive and analyze voluntary information submitted by foreign partners in several foreign languages. Multilingual skills are also valuable in interactions with foreign financial intelligence units, for example when negotiating memoranda of understanding or during meetings with foreign delegations. FINTRAC’s ability to capitalize on these strengths of a multicultural staff in the conduct of business underscores its position and credibility in the global financial intelligence community.

Promoting multicultural sensitive and responsive activities

The Canadian Air transport security Authority’s (CATSA) active engagement on social media over the past year has increased the institution’s Twitter audience to more than 5,000 followers. CATSA recognizes that security screening can be particularly stressful for those with special needs. Hence, it produced learning and development training modules for screening officers focused on assisting passengers with vision loss. CATSA also included on its website detailed information and tips specific to medication, medical items and equipment, health conditions, disabilities or medical needs to help passengers navigate through the checkpoint and improve their customer experience. Understanding the advantages of creating mutually beneficial relationships with groups representing passengers with special needs, CATSA took part in two opportunities aimed at helping children with autism and other functional limitations become familiar with the airport experience:

  1. Vancouver International Airport (YVR): CATSA partnered with the Canuck Autism Network, Air Transat and YVR screening officers; and
  2. Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport: Second annual Premium Kids program.
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February 13, 2015. Ceremony to commemorate National Flag of Canada Day. “To mark the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Flag, 100 new Canadian citizens joined over 1500 Ontarians to recreate the flag on the ice of the Mattamy Athletic Centre, formerly Maple Leaf Gardens.”

In June 2014, legislative reforms to the Citizenship Act changed the citizenship acquisition process and enhanced the role of citizenship judges to include ceremonial and ambassadorial tasks, investing them with a greater responsibility in citizenship promotion and awareness and allowing them to connect with newcomers and established Canadians of all origins on a greater scale than ever before. To implement this change, much work was done in 2014/2015. The Citizenship Commission, in collaboration with the CIC, developed the material necessary to support judges in their new role. Judges are now better positioned to connect with Canada’s diverse population to describe the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and send the message that multiculturalism in Canada affords opportunities for all. In 2014-2015, judges conducted over 500 public presentations, partnering with other government departments, community organizations, cultural groups and other interested parties. It is estimated that these public events have reached over 50,000 people across the country.

The department of Canadian heritage: In 2014-2015, the cultural heritage of communities targeted by the Canadian Multiculturalism Act benefited from the preservation services offered to cultural heritage professionals and institutions by the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI): 205 objects and 6 collections were treated, assessed or analyzed, including the Altona Haggadah, a rare and unique Jewish manuscript, a Chinese lion head, and numerous Inuit artifacts. In addition, museum professionals were able to enhance their knowledge of and practices for the preservation of ethnocultural heritage, since 8% of CCI workshop participants identified themselves as belonging to one of the communities targeted by the Canadian Multiculturalism Act.

Health Canada’s Drug Strategy Community Initiatives Fund (DSCIF) is a contribution funding program that supports community- based health promotion and prevention initiatives focused on substance abuse. DSCIF primarily targets at-risk youth including ethnocultural youth and Aboriginal youth living off-reserve. In 2014-2015, DSCIF had 43 projects underway, fifteen of which target Aboriginal youth, eleven ethnocultural youth, ten lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered youth and seven official language minority youth. A further six projects targeted enhancing prescriber education in order to prevent prescription drug abuse. These six projects have committed to examine population differences related to sex and gender, age, socioeconomic class, geography, language and cultural background.

The bank of Canada invited Canadians of all origins to comment on the principles that guide the design of the country’s bank notes through a questionnaire published on its website from October 8 to November 10, 2014. A total of 1,972 responses were collected via the online consultation. Analysis of the data indicates that the public would welcome an evolution of Canada’s bank notes to incorporate and better represent Canada’s diversity.

In the 2014-2015 reporting year, Public safety Canada organized three meetings of the Cross-Cultural Round table on Security (CCRS), including a special meeting in response to the tragic October 2014 events in Ottawa and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. The CCRS is made up of 15 Canadians from a variety of ethnocultural backgrounds from across the country; these meetings enhance the ability of community leaders of different origins to contribute to the conversation on issues pertaining to national security. In partnership with Public Safety Canada, the CCRS conducted 12 community outreach activities throughout the reporting year, ten of which focused on building community capacity to prevent radicalization to violence, with communities taking the lead to develop action plans as an outcome of these sessions.

The Office of Small and Medium Enterprises and Strategic Engagement at Public works and Government services Canada engaged minority and Aboriginal business organizations, including ethnocultural and women’s organizations from across Canada, through seminars and partnerships to help these groups use existing government resources to further integrate into local business communities.

The national Film board (NFB) and the national screen Institute (NSI) have teamed up to support emerging Aboriginal filmmakers in the 2014 and 2015 editions of the NSI Aboriginal Documentary course. Through this new partnership, filmmakers participating in the course will travel to the NFB’s headquarters in Montreal to be mentored through the post-production process. Their films will later be streamed on the | Online Screening Room following their first broadcast on This partnership spans two years, broadening the range of NFB programs already in place to mentor emerging Aboriginal filmmakers and enriching the body of work produced with Aboriginal directors over many decades. These works have helped to change perceptions and have brought First Nations stories and concerns to the screen.

Look to the Future

The Canadian Multiculturalism Act is an aspirational piece of legislation through which the Government of Canada is committed to recognizing and respecting the different cultures that make up Canadian society. Founded on the recognition of the value for society of the human dignity inherent in each individual, it aims to push beyond mere tolerance to mutual understanding and respect.

Although Canada has a long tradition of accommodation and Canadians are generally supportive of diversity and multiculturalism, challenges remain. Persistent prejudice and discrimination remain a reality for some minority groups, as do disparities in economic outcomes for newcomers and visible minorities.

This report has outlined some of the important work done by CIC and other federal institutions in 2014-2015 to implement the Multiculturalism Program and to meet their obligations under the Canadian Multiculturalism Act.

The Department of Canadian Heritage, which assumed responsibility for multiculturalism as of November 4, 2015, will continue to consider ways to build engagement and strengthen the sense of belonging among the country’s diverse population.

Annex A: Federal institutions that provided a submission

  • Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
  • Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
  • Atlantic Pilotage Authority
  • Atomic Energy of Canada Limited
  • Bank of Canada
  • Business Development Bank of Canada
  • Canada Border Services Agency
  • Canada Council for the Arts
  • Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • Canada Development Investment Corporation
  • Canada Lands Company Limited
  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
  • Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board
  • Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
  • Canada Post Corporation
  • Canada Revenue Agency
  • Canada School of Public Service
  • Canada Science and Technology Museum Corporation
  • Canadian Air Transport Security Authority
  • Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
  • Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
  • Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
  • Canadian Commercial Corporation
  • Canadian Dairy Commission
  • Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  • Canadian Grain Commission
  • Canadian Heritage
  • Canadian Human Rights Commission
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat
  • Canadian Museum of History
  • Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
  • Canadian Museum of Nature
  • Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
  • Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
  • Canadian Polar Commission
  • Canadian Race Relations Foundation
  • Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission
  • Canadian Security Intelligence Service
  • Canadian Space Agency
  • Canadian Tourism Commission
  • Canadian Transportation Agency
  • Canadian Wheat Board
  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada
  • Citizenship Commission
  • Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Communications Security Establishment Canada
  • Correctional Service Canada
  • Courts Administrative Service
  • Defence Construction Canada
  • Department of Finance Canada
  • Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development
  • Department of Justice Canada
  • Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces
  • Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec
  • Elections Canada
  • Employment and Social Development Canada
  • Environment Canada
  • Export Development Canada
  • Farm Credit Canada
  • Farm Products Council of Canada
  • Federal Bridge Corporation Limited
  • Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
  • Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
  • Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada
  • First Nations Tax Commission
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation
  • Great Lakes Pilotage Authority
  • Health Canada
  • Immigration and Refugee Board Canada
  • Industry Canada
  • Infrastructure Canada
  • International Development Research Centre
  • Laurentian Pilotage Authority
  • Library and Archives Canada
  • Marine Atlantic
  • Military Grievances and External Review Committee
  • Military Police Complaints Commission
  • National Arts Centre
  • National Battlefields Commission
  • National Capital Commission
  • National Energy Board
  • National Film Board of Canada
  • National Gallery of Canada
  • National Research Council of Canada
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
  • Northern Pipeline Agency
  • Office of the Auditor General of Canada
  • Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs
  • Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada
  • Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner
  • Office of the Correctional Investigator
  • Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada
  • Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
  • Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner
  • Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada
  • Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada
  • Pacific Pilotage Authority
  • Parks Canada
  • Parole Board of Canada
  • Patented Medicine Prices Review Board
  • Privy Council Office
  • Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Public Prosecution Service of Canada
  • Public Safety Canada
  • Public Sector Pension Investment Board
  • Public Service Commission of Canada
  • Public Works and Government Services Canada
  • Royal Canadian Mint
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police External Review Committee
  • Security Intelligence Review Committee
  • Shared Services Canada
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
  • Standards Council of Canada
  • Statistics Canada
  • Status of Women Canada
  • Telefilm Canada
  • The Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated
  • Transport Canada
  • Transportation Safety Board of Canada
  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
  • Veterans Affairs Canada
  • Veterans Review and Appeal Board
  • VIA Rail Canada Inc.
  • Western Economic Diversification Canada
  • National Search and Rescue Secretariat (input rolled up with DND & CAF)
  • Defence Research and Development Canada (input rolled up with DND & CAF)
  • Blue Water Bridge Canada (input rolled up with Federal Bridge Corporation)
Date Modified: