Budget 2018 invests millions in multiculturalism – iPolitics

Further to yesterday’s entry, Canadian Press article:

With one eye on ultra-nationalist movements appearing around the world, the Liberal government boosted funding in this week’s federal budget to address issues of anti-immigrant sentiment and racism bubbling up at home.

Funds for multiculturalism programs, initiatives for the Black Canadian community and a new centre to better analyze and collect data on diversity and inclusion were all included in Tuesday’s budget, a clear acknowledgment on the part of the Trudeau government that the current global climate is putting the prime minister’s “diversity is our strength” mantra to the test.

“Recent domestic and international events, like the rise of ultra-nationalist movements and protests against immigration, visible minorities and religious minorities, remind us that standing up for diversity and building communities where everyone feels included are as important today as they ever were,” the budget said in laying out the overarching goals of the funding.

The first piece: $23 million more over two years for multiculturalism programming that includes the formation of a new, national anti-racism plan, but that will also be spent through community organizations to assist with integration efforts in tandem with the Liberals’ decision to increase immigration levels over the next three years.

Details will be made public in the coming months, said Heritage Minister Melanie Joly.

Joly said diversity and inclusion are fundamental for the government.

“We decided to really invest.”

Concerns about integration routinely surface in research conducted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

“As much as participants valued diversity, many were concerned with our society’s ability and willingness to accommodate so many diverse cultures and whether our model of accommodation is entirely successful,” read a report on focus groups held last year ahead of the release of the immigration plan.

“A few general population participants were concerned with how some parts of Canada might be ‘losing their identity’ because of the volume and concentration of immigrants. They were also concerned with racism among some locals and how Canadian society is challenged by individuals who are not open to cultural diversity or who discriminate against specific ethnicities.”

It’s not all just talk. Following white nationalist protests in the U.S. this last summer, there was a sudden surge in activity by similar groups in Canada, though never on the same scale.

The second big piece for Joly’s department is $19 million over five years to support youth at risk and for research in support of more culturally focused mental-health programs in the Black Canadian community.

The specific allocation for that community represents the results of a concerted lobbying effort by the newly formed Federation of Black Canadians, along with members of the Liberal government’s own Black caucus, who’ve mounted a full-court press to draw more attention to a suite of issues facing.

Donald McLeod, an Ontario justice who heads the steering committee helping the federation get off the ground, said in his view, the money being allocated is part of a far bigger pot.

He also counts $214 million earmarked in the budget to remove racial barriers, promote gender equality and combat homophobia and transphobia, all issues that affect the quality of life for Black Canadians.

While the budget may reference the current global climate, McLeod said he sees the funding as reflective of a domestic moment in time.

“We need help,” he said. “And so I think because we need help it’s a voice that’s been echoing in the halls, in organizations, in supermarkets, in places of business, in educational facilities, so that, no matter where you go, you’re continuously hearing the fact that we need help.”

The funds for Black Canadians are also linked to an announced by Prime Minister Trudeau earlier this month that Canada will endorse the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent, obliging the government to take strides to ensuring the full and equal participation of Black Canadians.

The third major tranche of money comes via $6.7 million over five years to give Statistics Canada the ability to better analyze and collect data on diversity and inclusion.

That, along with the anti-racism strategy that will be built by Heritage, reflect two of the recommendations from a recent House of Commons committee study on combating Islamophobia and systemic discrimination and racism.

via Budget 2018 invests millions in multiculturalism – iPolitics

Budget 2018: Rebuilding Multiculturalism and Evidence-Based Policy

After the neglect over the past two years, the government is investing in the multiculturalism program (essentially restoring or more the previous cuts) along with targeted initiatives for Canadian Blacks.

Equally, if not more significant, the creation of new Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics will improve the quality and quantity of diversity-related data, with more data disgraced by race (likely defined as the different visible minority groups).

Both initiatives respond largely to some of the more substantive recommendations of the Canadian Heritage committee report on M-103:

Strengthening Multiculturalism and Addressing the Challenges Faced by Black Canadians (p184) – $42 million

Diversity is Canada’s strength and a cornerstone of Canadian identity. Recent domestic and international events, like the rise of ultranationalist movements, and protests against immigration, visible minorities and religious minorities, remind us that standing up for diversity and building communities where everyone feels included are as important today as they ever were.

To provide support for events and projects that help individuals and communities come together, the Government proposes to provide $23 million over two years, starting in 2018–19, to increase funding for the Multiculturalism Program administered by Canadian Heritage. This funding would support cross-country consultations on a new national anti-racism approach, would bring together experts, community organizations, citizens and interfaith leaders to find new ways to collaborate and combat discrimination, and would dedicate increased funds to address racism and discrimination targeted against Indigenous Peoples and women and girls.

As a first step toward recognizing the significant and unique challenges faced by Black Canadians, the Government also proposes to provide $19 million over five years that will be targeted to enhance local community supports for youth at risk and to develop research in support of more culturally focused mental health programs in the Black Canadian community. In addition, with the creation of the new Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics, announced in Chapter 1, the Government is committed to increase the disaggregation of various data sets by race. This will help governments and service providers better understand the intersectional dimensions of major issues, with a particular focus on the experience of Black Canadians.

Evidence-Based Policy (p 56)

In order to properly address gender inequality and track our progress towards a more equitable society, we need to better understand the barriers different groups face. The Government of Canada intends to address gaps in gathering data and to better use data related to gender and diversity.

This includes proposing $6.7 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, and $0.6 million per year ongoing, for Statistics Canada to create a new Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics. The Centre will maintain a public facing GBA+ data hub to support evidence-based policy development and decision-making—both within the federal government and beyond.

The Centre will work to address gaps in the availability of disaggregated data on gender, race and other intersecting identities to enrich our understanding of social, economic, financial and environmental issues. The work conducted at the Centre will include collecting, analyzing and disseminating data on visible minorities to understand the barriers different groups face and how best to support them with evidence-based policy.

As part of the Government’s commitment to address gaps in gender and diversity data, the Government is also proposing to provide $1.5 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, and $0.2 million per year ongoing, to the Department of Finance Canada to work with Statistics Canada and Status of Women to develop a broader set of indicators and statistics to measure and track Canada’s progress on achieving shared growth and gender equality objectives.

Budget 2018 also proposes to provide $5 million per year to Status of Women Canada to undertake research and data collection in support of the Government’s Gender Results Framework. One of the first projects this would support is an analysis of the unique challenges visible minority and newcomer women face in finding employment in science, technology engineering and mathematics occupations. This research will fill important gaps in knowledge as to how to achieve greater diversity and inclusion among the high-paying jobs of tomorrow.

Recognizing the importance of poverty data in evidence-based decision- making by all levels of government, the federal government additionally proposes an investment of $12.1 million over five years, and $1.5 million per year thereafter, to address key gaps in poverty measurement in Canada. This includes ensuring that poverty data is inclusive of all Canadians, data on various dimensions of poverty are captured, and the data is robust and timely

And then there were 2… multiculturalism ministers on the cabinet roster – Inside Politics

More from Kady O’Malley on her series ‘would the real Minister for Multiculturalism please stand up’. I think in practice it will be less confusing for outside observers as Minister Kenney will be the main public face of multiculturalism and is clearly the senior political minister. Officials will adjust as they must, the focus of the program will be political, given the importance of ethnic communities as the ‘fourth sister’ of electoral strategies.

Not elegant from a machinery of government perspective but a totally understandable and rational, from a political perspective decision (even if the former official in me groans about what it means for the long-term health of the multiculturalism program).

And then there were 2… multiculturalism ministers on the cabinet roster – Inside Politics.