Ontario Establishes Anti-Racism Directorate

Premier Wynne in Thunder Bay - stock image
Premier Wynne - stock image
Premier Wynne in Thunder Bay - stock image
Premier Wynne – stock image

THUNDER BAY – Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced today that Ontario will establish an Anti-Racism Directorate to address racism in all its forms — including individual, systemic and cultural.

Michael Coteau will oversee the Anti-Racism Directorate as Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism and continue as Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

We know in our hearts that deeply entrenched biases are still at work, disadvantaging entire communities. I have fought for equality my entire life, and I know that government needs to play a leading role in the fight against racial discrimination and inequality. That is why we are establishing an Anti-Racism Directorate to advance racial equality across Ontario,” said Premier Wynne.

Michael Coteau, Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport said, “Despite all our progress towards building an inclusive society, racial minorities in Ontario continue to face economic and social barriers. I am honoured to assume this new role, and as Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism I will work to make our province a place where everyone has an equal opportunity to flourish.”

The Directorate will work with key partners such as business, community organizations, educational institutions and the Ontario Human Rights Commission. The Directorate will aim to:

  • Increase public education and awareness of racism to create a more inclusive province, and;
  • Apply an anti-racism lens in developing, implementing and evaluating government policies, programs and services.

The Anti-Racism Directorate 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.

“I’m glad that the Liberal government has finally listened to the thousands of Ontarians, from across this province, who joined the NDP’s call to take action against racism and build a more inclusive Ontario,” stated Andrea Horwath, the leader of the Ontario New Democrats. “The establishment of an Anti-Racism Directorate is an important step towards building a future where no one is left behind. And where all Ontarians can share in the opportunities we create.  This is a vision Ontario’s NDP will continue to push as the new legislative session begins.”

This is an initiative that’s a decade overdue. I want to thank everyone who signed our petition, came to one of our community meetings, or who showed their support in other ways. Together we got results,” added Horwath.

The call for the establishment of an anti-racism office in Ontario has been advocated by the Council of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA), and the Colour of Poverty campaign, which combined represent over 100 community organizations.


  • Today the government will introduce legislation that, if passed, would formally and permanently establish February as Black History Month in Ontario on an annual basis.
  • Since 2003, the Ontario Trillium Foundation has awarded seven grants for a total of $171,100 in support of Black History Month. In addition, 14 other grants have been awarded for a total of $829,900 in support of black history initiatives.
  • The Ontario Public Service (OPS) launched the first OPS Anti-Racism Action Plan last November. It focuses on preventing race-based discrimination and harassment; further diversifying the public service at every level, including senior management; and increasing OPS employees’ awareness of racism and its impacts.
  • Public servants use a tool called the OPS Inclusion Lens to identify and address potential barriers in designing policies or delivering services. The lens addresses 17 dimensions of diversity, including race, age, gender and disability.
  • Every year, the province awards the Lincoln M. Alexander Award to youth who have demonstrated leadership in eliminating racial discrimination in Ontario.
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