OTTAWA, ON, - In Canada, diversity is one of our greatest strengths, yet we know that discrimination and racism continue to take an unacceptable toll on our communities. The recent deadly hate-motivated terrorist attack on a Muslim family in London, Ontario, underscores the urgent need to take further steps to combat Islamophobia and all forms of racism.
Today, the Government of Canada held a virtual National Summit on Islamophobia. Organized by the Federal Anti-Racism Secretariat, and convened by the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, the summit provided a national platform for Muslim communities to identify concrete ways to combat Islamophobia across the country.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau opened the summit by reiterating the government's solidarity with Muslim communities across Canada and its commitment to combat and denounce Islamophobia and all forms of racism and discrimination.
During the summit, federal ministers, Members of Parliament, and officials from provincial and municipal governments, listened to the lived experiences of Muslim Canadians from across the country.
Attendees identified ways the federal government should work with Muslim communities to implement federal anti-racism initiatives that address Islamophobia and hate-fueled violence.
During the summit, the Government of Canada committed to:
• Engage with Muslim communities on the government's next Anti-Racism Action Plan, which will be launched when the 2019–2022 Anti-Racism Strategy comes to an end;
• Explore potential adjustments to the Security Infrastructure Program (SIP), Anti-Racism Action Program (ARAP), Community Support, Multiculturalism, and Anti-Racism Initiatives Program (CSMARI) and other relevant/related programs to enhance effectiveness and to be more responsive to community needs. These programs will continue to dismantle white supremacist groups, monitor hate groups, and take action to combat hate everywhere, including online;
• Building on lessons learned to improve digital literacy and tackling misinformation;
• A renewed focus on dedicated resources to support the work within government to combat islamophobia and all forms of hate;
• The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, has requested that the Taxpayers' Ombudsperson conduct a systemic study to address the concerns of Muslim led charitable organizations;
Take a whole-of-government approach by working with departments across the government to take further action on these priorities.
Minister Chagger also announced today support for 8 projects through the Anti-Racism Action Program that address Islamophobia and aim to remove systemic barriers faced by Muslim communities.
Additionally yesterday, the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade and Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, announced funding for 150 projects representing over $6 million to support communities at risk of hate-motivated crime through the Communities at Risk: Security Infrastructure Program (SIP).
Today's summit made important progress in combatting Islamophobia across the country. The government will continue to stand with and support Muslim communities, fight against all forms of discrimination, and work to create a safer and more inclusive Canada for all.