Alberta is taking concrete steps to fight racism with a comprehensive action plan.
The plan follows through on the Premier’s commitment to take action against racism after six Muslims were shot in a Québec City mosque in 2017. Its measures are the result of extensive consultations, involving more than 100 groups, led by Education Minister David Eggen.
“Racism has no place in Alberta and so our government is committed to fighting it, and fostering respect for diversity. We will be guided by those who experience the problem, and help those working for solutions.”
Rachel Notley, Premier
Two of the action items will take effect right away. An Anti-Racism Advisory Council composed of Albertans of many backgrounds, including Indigenous peoples, will shape the government’s approach, and a community grants program will begin to fund groups directly targeting racism and raising awareness of different cultures.
The government will continue to engage about the remainder of the items to make sure they are right. These include setting up a specialized hate crimes unit for police, having a specific focus on fighting racism in the new curriculum, and helping workers whose foreign credentials may not lead to jobs that can best use their skills and experience.
“To those who took the time to share their stories, we have heard you and we will keep listening. I want to thank everyone who took the time to share their difficult stories with our government to guide this important work. I look forward to continuing the conversation with you this summer to ensure we are on the right path. Together we will make Alberta safe and respectful for everyone. Albertans expect nothing less.”
David Eggen, Minister of Education
The report includes two items that will launch immediately:
• The new Anti-Racism Community Grant Program will provide $2 million to support grassroots initiatives that raise awareness and understanding of racism and its impact on all Albertans. This will also include funding to support anti-racism projects or initiatives specific to Indigenous peoples.
• The new Anti-Racism Advisory Council will include up to 25 members to advise the Government of Alberta on how to address racism effectively, engage Albertans in provincial and community conversations and further cross-cultural work. Applications are now being accepted.
The report also proposes specific actions on a wide range of topics on which the government will continue to engage:
• Starting a Foreign Qualification Recognition Fund.
• Expanding career mentorship programs to smaller cities.
• Creating a Provincial Hate Crimes Unit.
• Funding the Alberta Hate Crimes Committee.
• Updating curriculum to include materials focused on fighting racism.
• Expanding the number of languages students can learn in.
• Making sure Albertans know their rights.
• Making it easier for Albertans to have access to anti-racism resources.