June 27 is Canadian Multiculturalism Day

Let us celebrate and embrace this day

It was first announced in 1971 to be an official policy of Canada at the House of Commons by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who stated that no official culture would define Canadian identity but it is its cultural diversity that makes the country whole.  This year marks the 50th anniversary of the policy.

The concept of Multiculturalism Day was introduced on November 13,2002 and adopted by the Government of Canada.  June 27 was designated as the day by Royal Proclamation.

Multiculturalism is reflected within  the law through the Canadian Multiculturalism Act of 1988 and section 27 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  In addition the Broadcasting Act of 1991 asserts that the Canadian broadcasting system should reflect the diversity of all cultures across the country.

This day honours racial, religious and cultural backgrounds of Canada.  Our shared values define us more than our differences. Acknowledging those common values can see us through our challenges today as we work toward inclusion and reconciliation.

Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth in her statement in 2020 stated  “Our diversity has shaped our society and our way of life. People from around the world have come to Canada, hopeful of having the same opportunities and experiences as all Canadians, and with a common goal to achieve an inclusive, supportive, and diverse society in which everyone can thrive.” …. “Diversity has always been one of our greatest strengths. Yet, we must never forget that a multicultural society is always a work in progress.  It demands our effort, our attention and our care.”

Here are some facts and figures from Statistics Canada and the Census to understand why helping everyone feel like they belong is not just the right thing to do, but is essential with today’s changing demographics:

  • Immigration accounts for more than 80 per cent of the population growth in Canada.
  • During the first three months of 2019, Canada’s population increased by 98,410 persons due to immigration, bringing our population to 37,412,852.
  • 21.9 per cent of the Canadian population reports they are or were a landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada.
  • More than 250 ethnic origins or ancestries are reported by the Canadian population.
  • British and French origins are still among the most common, but their share in the population has decreased considerably since Confederation.
  • In 2016, 2.1 million people, or 6.2 per cent of the total Canadian population, reported Indigenous ancestry.
  • In 2016, 7,674,580 individuals were identified as belonging to a racialized population. They represented more than one-fifth (22.3 per cent) of Canada’s population. Of this number, three in 10 were born in Canada.
  • South Asians, Chinese and Blacks were the three largest racialized groups, each with a population exceeding one million. These are followed by Filipinos and Arabs, who almost doubled their numbers in 10 years and had the highest growth rates among racialized groups from 2006 to 2016.
  • Immigrants contribute to our economy, not only by filling gaps in our labour force and paying taxes, but also by spending money on goods, housing and transportation

We  believe that every day is a day to celebrate our diversity because our country is built upon so many different races, religions, and cultural practices.   So let’s do our part to celebrate today and every day.

June 2021

UVAE HR Committee