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May 31, 2010
Coalition of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination third conference
  
Municipalities are being called on to adopt a Ten Point Action Plan at the third Conference of the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination (CMARD) being held today at Toronto City Hall in the Council Chamber. The City is hosting the conference, in partnership with the Canadian Commission for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and other partners, to share best practices and to enhance Canadian municipalities ability to create an equitable local environment for its racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse population. The CMARD conference follows the 73rd Annual Conference of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities also held in Toronto.

"With demographic patterns changing in almost all local areas of Canada, Canadian municipalities are facing greater challenges than ever in identifying and addressing the needs of a culturally diverse population within their neighbourhoods," said Mayor David Miller. "I am extremely proud of Toronto's role in establishing a Coalition. In 2005 it was only an idea but we helped grow the Coalition to 36 municipalities sharing our good practices with other municipalities based on decades of experience."

Over 100 of Canada's mayors and councillors, policy makers and human rights organizations are attending today's conference. They will be discussing the economic and social benefits of addressing challenges, barriers and issues faced by minorities, including a sharing of ideas and experiences to remedy discrimination, and identifying solutions and best practices.

Toronto also organized a special workshop, "Developing an Anti-Racism Plan of Action" at the 73rd Annual Conference of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities held in Toronto. As a result of these two prominent and invaluable initiatives, more municipalities have expressed an interest in joining the Coalition.

CMARD's goal is to help broaden and strengthen society's ability to protect and promote human rights through coordination and shared responsibility among local governments, civil society organizations and other democratic institutions. A Ten-Point Action Plan has been developed to assist municipalities in developing their own programs for eliminating racism and discrimination.

"Municipal governments, as well as other levels of government in Canada, along with local and national organizations, share the responsibility and have an important role to play in combating racism and discrimination and fostering equality and respect for all citizens," said Councillor Pam McConnell (Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale), member of the FCM National Board of Directors. "Municipalities are the ideal place to originate and develop policies, programs and strategies, and take meaningful action toward eliminating racism and discrimination."

Sample actions municipalities could take include developing a monitoring and rapid response system or network to identify and respond to acts of racism, hate crimes and incidents; use awareness materials and campaigns to inform residents about their rights and obligations; examine housing and urban planning policies and practices and address systemic barriers that have a discriminatory effect on Aboriginal and racialized communities, including the marginalization of those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents. For information about non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Media contacts:
Cassandra Fernandes, Diversity Management and Community Engagement, 416-392-3834, cfernan1@toronto.ca
Anne McLaughlin, Strategic Communications, 416-397-5707, amclaug@toronto.ca

Backgrounder

May 31, 2010

Canadian Coalition of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination (CMARD)

Since 2005, Toronto as a founding member with the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, helped grow the proposal for a coalition to an alliance of 36 Canadian municipalities that have developed and implemented concrete plans of action against racism and discrimination.

Toronto's own plan of action, shaped by decades of experience working with residents and communities in addressing racism and discrimination, was approved by City Council in 2003. The plan was acknowledged in the March 2004 report to the United Nations by M. Doudou Diene, Special Rapporteur on Racism. The objective is to create balanced rights and responsibilities in the equal treatment of women and men irrespective of race, colour, place or origin and language.

Municipal governments, as well as other levels of government in Canada, along with local and national organizations, are together sharing the responsibility of combating racism and discrimination and fostering equality and respect for all citizens.

Municipal governments are invited to:

• Contact the Canadian Commission for UNESCO http://www.unesco.ca to learn more about the Coalition
• Discuss the benefits of joining the Coalition with community organizations and other stakeholders
• Send a letter from the mayor to the Canadian Commission for UNESCO expressing the municipality’s interest in joining the Coalition
• Develop and promote the initiative within the municipality
• Take steps to have the municipal council pass a resolution to sign the Declaration of the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination, supporting the Common Commitments and pledging to develop or reaffirm its own plan of action
• Evaluate activities already being undertaken by the municipality that correspond to one or more of the Common Commitments
• Identify new actions relating to one or more of the Common Commitments that the municipality will undertake in the coming years
• Monitor, evaluate and report on progress made
• Encourage other municipal governments to join the Coalition

Media contacts:
Cassandra Fernandes, Consultant, Diversity Management and Community Engagement, City of Toronto, 416-392-3834, cfernan1@toronto.ca
Anne McLaughlin, Strategic Communications, 416-397-5707, amclaug@toronto.ca


 

 

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