Ontario Recognizing the United Nations’ Decade for People of African Descent

Head shot of Michael Coteau - Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism
Photo: Michael Coteau - Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism
Province Working to Eliminate Systemic Racism

Ontario is formally recognizing the United Nations’ (UN) Decade for People of African Descent. This declaration acknowledges that people of African descent represent a distinct group whose human rights must be promoted and protected.

The UN Decade calls on the international community to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance that affect people of African descent. The themes for the decade are recognition, justice and development.

Ontario is taking leadership in responding to the UN Decade’s call by working towards eliminating the systemic racism that affects Black, Indigenous and other racialized people in the province.

The Anti-Racism Directorate was created in February 2016 and works to address and prevent systemic racism in government policy, legislation, programs and services. This is part of the government’s commitment to fight discrimination and ensure that everyone in Ontario has the opportunity to fulfill their potential and participate equally in society.

Quick Facts

  • The United Nations’ Decade for People of African Descent runs from 2015 to 2024.
  • Black History month was first celebrated in Ontario in 1993 to mark the 200th anniversary of a law banning the importation of slaves into Upper Canada. Last year, Ontario passed legislation to proclaim February as Black History Month on an annual basis.
  • Between July and December 2016, the Anti-Racism Directorate held 10 public community meetings across Ontario and heard from people about their experiences with racism, including anti-Black racism, and recommendations on how to tackle systemic racism.
  • A UN human rights working group came to Canada in October 2016 to assess anti-Black racism. Their full report will be available in September 2017.


“People of African descent are still among the most marginalized and discriminated against groups in our society. While many know this to be true, we must do more in order to acknowledge this and ensure everyone has the opportunity to succeed. Ontario is taking another important step towards this by formally recognizing the United Nations’ Decade for the People of African Descent. We are also making important strides provincially with our Anti-Racism Directorate. I’m proud to live in a province that is taking bold action towards eliminating systemic racism, and building a more just and inclusive society.”

Michael Coteau – Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism

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