Observing Black History Month in Canada

February 01, 2018

Every February, Canadians are invited to participate in Black History Month festivities and events that honour the legacy of Black Canadians, past and present. As a union, CAPE is by definition a collective representing the many, and as such, is a strong supporter of diversity initiatives. Here are a few resources to check out:

Commemorating the Past

For 2018, the theme of the Government of Canada’s Black History Month campaign is Black Canadian Women: Stories of Strength, Courage and Vision. Check out Canadian Heritage’s Black History Month website for noteworthy profiles and key events in Black Canadian history and educational resources. You can also download the 2018 poster.

Union Advocacy Today

To mark Black History Month, Canada’s unions – including CAPE – are renewing their call on the federal government to commit to an anti-Black racism strategy and Canada’s unions are striving to educate their membership on the issue of anti-Black racism.

Such a strategy would require the government to commit to analyzing race-based statistics on how various institutional policies impact Canada’s Black communities. The key objective would be to eradicate institutionalized racism that is disproportionately harming this specific segment of Canadian society.

Last year, the Canadian Labour Congress hosted a series of webinars called Working While Black. The series highlighted the contributions of Black activists and organizers in Canada and helped build skills and knowledge towards confronting discrimination.

This year, Canada’s unions are celebrating Black History Month with the release of a special podcast later this month called “Smoke and Mirrors: Uncovering Truths about Human Rights in Canada”. Hosted by lawyer, writer and PhD candidate Hadiya Roderique, the episode will explore the history of anti-Black racism in Canada and its legacy on society today.

The podcast features interviews with Black intellectuals and activists including authors and historians Robyn Maynard and Dr. Afua Cooper, as well as the award-winning journalist Desmond Cole.

Promoting a Diverse Workforce

CAPE has also been a contributor to the recently released Building a Diverse and Inclusive Public Service: Final Report of the Joint Union/Management Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion.

The report contains 44 recommendations resulting for extensive and comprehensive consultations with employees and stakeholders.

CAPE has been committed to the Task Force from the beginning in the belief that multiple perspectives in the workplace foster greater employee engagement and innovation. It is critical that our union members reflect the diversity of the Canadian public that they serve, and we look forward to working collaboratively in implementing key recommendations.