MONTRÉAL, July 20, 2017. – At the Government of Québec’s request, the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (CDPDJ) will hold a consultation on systemic discrimination and racism in partnership with the Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness. The objective will be to propose concrete and permanent solutions that engage all of Quebec society in combating these problems. Quebecers will be invited to take part in the consultation, which will take place during the fall of 2017.
During a press conference, Kathleen Weil, Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness, and CDPDJ President Tamara Thermitus presented the consultation’s different stages. Maryse Alcindor, Advisory Committee President, and several Committee members were also at the press conference.
Those wishing to take part will be able to do so in the following ways:
- In early September, Quebec residents will be able express themselves by completing an online questionnaire or submitting personal stories through a special website.
- Following today’s call for proposals, between 15 and 20 non-profit organizations in different administrative regions will be selected to hold consultation sessions during the months of September and October. Their purpose will be to hear the testimonies of persons who have experienced discrimination or racism and the ideas of those who have solutions to offer.
- In September, four working groups will be created to study different aspects of systemic discrimination and racism: employment and work; education, health, social services and housing; justice and public safety; culture and media.
- In November, a public forum will be held to focus on the working group findings with experts and other parties. The forum will provide the opportunity to share knowledge, research data and testimonies with the goal of assessing the situation and proposing solutions. The experts’ work and the forum’s results will be used to draw up the recommendations that will be submitted to the government by the CDPDJ at the end of the consultation.
The Advisory Committee was created in the spring of last year to advise the Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness on the consultation’s form, topics and goals. Its recommendations served as the basis for the consultation’s formula presented today.
Open and inclusive societies such as ours are based on democratic values and the profound conviction that all can contribute to the community.
The fight against racism and discrimination is a shared responsibility that requires an ongoing commitment to true equality for all the people of Quebec, no matter their name, skin colour, religion or origin.
The consultation that our government is announcing today is an opportunity to mobilize all of civil society, examine our successes and the challenges that persist, draw on best practices and propose actions to eliminate the barriers to full participation.
– Kathleen Weil, Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness
“Beyond being tolerant, society must commit to tapping into everyone’s full potential and eradicating all forms of discrimination. It is not just a question of fundamental rights: it is a question of social justice.
The CDPJD safeguards the rights provided for in the quasi-constitutional Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. This investigation will provide food for thought. The CDPJD believes that listening to victims of systemic discrimination and racism is essential, so that real solutions can emerge. I invite Quebecers as a whole to participate in this consultation. Your voice counts and we want to hear it!”
– Tamara Thermitus, CDPJD President
Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness http://www.immigration-quebec.gouv.qc.ca/en/home.html
Human Rights Commission, CDPJD: http://www.cdpdj.qc.ca/en/Pages/default.aspx
Call for proposals: www.midi.gouv.qc.ca/fr/dossiers/consultation-discrimination-racisme.html
In recent years, the Government of Québec has taken many steps to fight against systemic discrimination and racism. A number of findings are listed in the Diversity: An added value policy and in the recent Quebec policy on immigration, participation and inclusion titled Together, we are Québec. These policies bring to light the obstacles that immigrants and ethnocultural Quebec minorities face and that are detrimental to their integration and full participation. The action plans that accompany these policies have helped to make many advances, but much remains to be done.
The people of Quebec will be given the opportunity to speak up, be heard and propose solutions to these issues. The CDPDJ will be responsible for the fall consultation’s content and recommendations, in partnership with the Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness who will be responsible for organizing and logistics. The consultation’s main objective will be to provide the government with concrete and permanent solutions that will engage all of Quebec society in combating systemic discrimination and racism.
Why hold a consultation on systemic discrimination and racism in 2017?
Despite the efforts made by the government and society to combat systemic discrimination and racism, much work remains to be done to achieve true equality.
For example, immigrant employment rates have risen over the past few years. We should be proud of this progress, but we must also ask if there is anything more we can do.
We also observe that visible minorities, particularly women and young people, don’t hold many decision-making positions, such as on boards of directors. This is but one example among many, which illustrates the imbalances that persist in our society. The consultation will propose solutions to these problems.
Why speak of systemic discrimination?
By “systemic discrimination,” we mean situations that aren’t necessarily the fault of individuals, or situations where practices, decisions and behaviours are combined to other practices within organizations that result in discrimination. What we must do is recognize the issue and see how we can rectify it.
What about racism?
Racism can be defined as the set of ideas, attitudes and acts that aim to or result in making ethnocultural and national groups socially, economically, culturally and politically inferior, thus preventing them from taking full advantage of the benefits provided to all citizens.
Though racist ideology and the existence of “races” have been scientifically disproved and policies and anti-discrimination laws are in place, racism has not necessarily been eradicated. On the contrary, racism has become subtler, at times undisclosed because of its illegal character, or yet still hidden behind personal or professional tensions and conflicts.
|July 20, 2017||Beginning call for proposals directed at non-profit organizations (NPOs)|
|August 2017||CDPDJ’s selection of the people responsible for holding consultations. These people will be allowed to attend other local consultations to hear testimonies. They will participate in analyzing personal stories, testimonies and comments, lead the working groups, participate in the Forum and develop the recommendations for the CDPDJ that will in turn be submitted to the government.|
|September and October 2017||Announcement of the selected NPOs
Local consultation sessions held by the selected NPOs
Online consultations (questionnaires and personal stories)
Creation of four working groups:
· Employment and Work
· Education, Health, Social Services and Housing
· Justice and Public Safety
· Culture and Media
|November 2017||Forum on systemic discrimination and racism|
|December 2017 – January 2018||Continued discussion in the four working groups|
|February 2018||Development of recommendations by the CDPDJ for the Government of Quebec|
|Spring 2018||Launch of a government action plan to combat systemic discrimination and racism|
During the spring of 2017, Kathleen Weil, Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness, formed a committee to help the Government of Québec with the establishment of a consultation on systemic discrimination and racism.
Chaired by Maryse Alcindor, retired government administrator, the committee met on a few occasions to discuss consultation possibilities. Last June, the committee’s recommendations were submitted to the government.
The members of the Advisory Committee:
Victor Armony, professor in the Faculty of Sociology at the Université du Québec à Montréal
Rachida Azdouz, Senior Advisor, Strategic Development at the Université de Montréal
Kamel Béji, full professor of industrial relations at Université Laval
Haroun Bouazzi, co-chair of the Association of Muslims and Arabs for Secularism in Quebec
Emmanuel Bulamatari, coordinator, Comité d’initiative provisoire des Afro-Québécois
Marie-Thérèse Chicha, full professor with the School of Industrial Relations and Ethnic Relations Chair, Université de Montréal
Stéphane Brutus, professor with the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University
Paul Eid, professor with the Faculty of Sociology at Université du Québec à Montréal
Habib El-Hage, intercultural coordinator with the student life service of the College de Rosemont
Natasha Kanapé-Fontaine, poet, performer, actress, visual artist and activist for aboriginal and environmental rights
Myrna Lashley, assistant professor with the Department of Psychiatry – Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry at McGill University
Émilie Nicolas, president of Quebec inclusif
Will Prosper, co-founder of Montréal-Nord Républik
Myrlande Pierre, associate researcher with the Center for Research in Immigration, Ethnicity and Citizenship, Faculty of Human Sciences, Université du Québec à Montréal
Michèle Turenne, legal advisor to the CDPJD