Multiculturalism Policies in Contemporary Democracies

Multiculturalism Policies

in Contemporary Democracies

Multiculturalism Policies

in Contemporary Democracies

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Canada

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TOTAL SCORES
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 1 1.5 3.5 5.5 5.5

 

1. CONSTITUTIONAL, LEGISLATIVE OR PARLIAMENTARY AFFIRMATION OF MULTICULTURALISM AT THE CENTRAL AND/OR REGIONAL AND MUNICIPAL LEVELS AND THE EXISTENCE OF A GOVERNMENT MINISTRY, SECRETARIAT OR ADVISORY BOARD TO IMPLEMENT THIS POLICY IN CONSULTATION WITH ETHNIC COMMUNITIES

    Yes.

   
Affirmation Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 1 1 1 1 1

Evidence:

  • A commitment to multiculturalism is embodied in the constitution of the country. Section 27 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that “This Charter shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with the preservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage of Canadians.”
  • The Canadian Multiculturalism Act, which was passed in 1988, affirms a policy of official multiculturalism at the federal level. It also provides for the establishment of programs and policies in support of the act.
  • On 30 October 2008, responsibility for the Multiculturalism Program was transferred to the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, under the mandate of the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada 2018). In November 2015, it was moved to the Department of Canadian Heritage (Canadian Heritage 2018) and, following the most recent election in October 2019, falls under the purview of the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth.
  • Provincially, there is some variation. Ontario has a policy statement and statute related to multiculturalism. British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia have statutes, although Alberta’s is subsumed within the Alberta Human Rights Act which was passed in 2009. New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island have policy statements. Quebec has adopted an intercultural policy model regarding diversity and immigrant integration which has generally given precedence to Francophone culture and language (see, for example, Bouchard 2015; Gagnon and Iaconvino 2016). While the territories currently do not have specific policies pertaining to multiculturalism, they have human rights acts which specifically address discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, place of origin, religion, and more (see Brosseau and Dewing 2018; Dewing and Leman 2006; Garcea 2006). 
  • Eight provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia), have a multiculturalism advisory council that reports to the ministry which oversees multicultural issues and policies in the province (Brosseau and Dewing 2018). 
  • At the local level, Good (2009, 8) notes that the multiculturalism infrastructure is “highly uneven,” and “municipalities vary in the extent to which they participate in implementing the norms of ‘official multiculturalism’” (see also Good 2005; Poirier 2006; Qadeer and Agrawal 2011).
  • The policy landscape between 2010 and 2020 is roughly the same as that which existed between 1980 and 2010. Indeed, given that the federal government first introduced a multiculturalism policy in 1971, there has been long-standing affirmation and support formulticulturalism.

 

2. THE ADOPTION OF MULTICULTURALISM IN SCHOOL CURRICULUM

    Yes.

   
School Curriculum Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 1 1 1 1 1

Evidence:

  • Multiculturalism has been included in school curriculum for some time. The federal government assisted in the adoption of multicultural education programs through the Multiculturalism Directorate established in 1972 (Ghosh 2004, 553).
  • Saskatchewan set Canada's first multiculturalism education policy at the provincial level in 1975 with Alberta, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia also endorsing multicultural education policies. Ontario and British Columbia were also proactive in developing multicultural education policies at the time (Ghosh 2004, 555).
  • The Council of Ministers of Education of Canada (2008, 52-53) recognizes that “integrating immigrant children into the existing education systems of the provinces and territories involves establishing policies embodying the principles of diversity, equity, and multicultural education as part of the daily classroom and school environment, as well as adapting the curriculum and providing teacher supports that address students’ real needs, especially for language learning.” It provides examples of initiatives in Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • The Ontario Ministry of Education and Training (1993) adopted policy guidelines related to antiracism and ethnocultural equity in school boards. Among the requirements is the provision that school curriculum reflect a racially and culturally diverse society and is aligned with antiracism policy objectives. These guidelines remain in force.
  • The Western Canadian Protocol for Collaboration in Basic Education (2002) recognizes, in its Common Curriculum Framework for Social Studies, the importance of recognizing Canada’s cultural diversity and including diverse cultural perspectives in school curriculum. The protocol includes the four western provinces and two territories. In addition, the British Columbia Ministry of Education (2008) recognizes multiculturalism in its policy framework for schools.

 

3. THE INCLUSION OF ETHNIC REPRESENTATION/SENSITIVITY IN THE MANDATE OF PUBLIC MEDIA OR MEDIA LICENSING

    Yes.

   
Media Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 1 1 1

Evidence:

  • The Broadcasting Act governs the activities of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), which is Canada’s national publicbroadcaster. Section 3 of the act requires that the CBC’s programming “reflect the multicultural and multiracial nature ofCanada.” The act further stipulates that programming and employment opportunities in the Canadian broadcasting system, in general, “serve the needs and interests, and reflect the circumstances and aspirations, of Canadian men, women and children, including equal rights, the linguistic duality and multicultural and multiracial nature of Canadian society and the special place of aboriginal peoples within that society.”
  • The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) regulates broadcasting in Canada, which includes the issuing of broadcasting licenses. The CRTC must comply with the Broadcasting Act’s requirement that the broadcasting system reflect the diversity of the Canadian population. Licenses for ethnic broadcasting currently include: a multilingual, multi-ethnic channel on the digital basic service; four ethnic television stations and 28 radio stations (which include third language programming); five general-interest, third-language discretionary services; and more than 190 ethnic pay and specialty services for digital distribution (CRTC 2019). Decreased regulations regarding the licensing of third-language services has also helped to expand third-language programming in recent years. 
  • Although the CRTC was created in 1968 at the same time that the first Broadcasting Act was passed, it was not until the 1990s that cultural diversity and inclusion emerged as important issues on the media landscape. In 1991, the Broadcasting Act made multiculturalism an important part of the public broadcaster’s (CBC) mandate (Dewing 2012).In 1999, the CRTC issued a Public Notice emphasizing that anyone seeking a media license in Canada should “make specific commitments to initiatives designed to ensure that they contribute to a system that more accurately reflects the presence of cultural and racial minorities and Aboriginal peoples in the communities they serve. Licensees are expected to ensure that the on-screen portrayal of allminority groups is accurate, fair and non-stereotypical”. This was reconfirmed in 2001 (CRTC 2001).
  • In 1999, the CRTC issued a Public Notice emphasizing that anyone seeking a media license in Canada should “make specific commitments to initiatives designed to ensure that they contribute to a system that more accurately reflects the presence of cultural and racial minorities and Aboriginal peoples in the communities they serve. Licensees are expected to ensure that the on-screen portrayal of allminority groups is accurate, fair and non-stereotypical”. This was reconfirmed in 2001 (CRTC 2001).   

 

4. EXEMPTIONS FROM DRESS CODES (EITHER BY STATUTE OR COURT CASES)

    Yes, with the exception of Quebec.

   
Exemption Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0.5 1 1 1 1

Evidence:

  • Since 1980, there have been incremental changes in this policy field. In 1985, the Supreme Court ruled under the Charter that individuals had the right to protection from dismissal for choosing not to work on religious holidays (Bouchard and Taylor 2008, 48). One of the most significant was in 1990 when the federal government amended the uniform policy of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, allowing Sikh officers to wear turbans in lieu of the traditional headdress. The Supreme Court of Canada affirmed this right, denying a request from two retired RCMP officers who appealed the amendment (Bouchard and Taylor 2008). 
  • In 2006, the Supreme Court of Canada sided with the Quebec Superior Court, ruling that a Quebec student should be permitted to wear a kirpan to school under conditions negotiated by the boy’s parents and his school, namely that the kirpan be worn in a stitched sheath underneath the student’s clothing (Bouchard and Taylor 2008).  
  • Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia, and, most recently, Ontario, exempt turban-wearing Sikhs from legislation requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets (Canadian Press 2018).  
  • In terms of religious face coverings, there has been some debate and variation in policies between Quebec and the rest of Canada. Federally, in December 2011, then Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney banned the wearing of the niqab during citizenship oath ceremonies (Black 2015). While the ban was overturned by the Federal Court of Canada, it led to significant debate and Conservatives proposed a niqab ban for public servants during the 2015 election campaign (Black 2015). The Conservatives lost the 2015 election and the Trudeau government dropped the federal government’s appeal to the Supreme Court, thereby confirming the right to wear the niqab during citizenship ceremonies (Crawford 2015; Kymlicka 2021). 
  • Despite the current federal government’s shift away from discussion of a niqab ban, it remains a very contentious and current debate in Quebec. In October 2017, Quebec passed Bill 62, a “religious neutrality law” that prevents individuals from covering their faces when working in the public sector or receiving public services (e.g., libraries, public transit systems, etc.; see Dangerfield 2017). The bill was halted by an injunction from a Superior Court judge shortly after it went into effect. However, in 2019, Bill 21 – titled “An Act Respecting the Laicity of the State” – re-introduced a ban on all religious symbols for public sector workers and those receiving public services (National Assembly of Quebec 2019). While similar to Bill 62, the government protected this bill by invoking Section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, also known as the notwithstanding clause. In effect, this means that the province can insulate the legislation from court challenges on grounds pertaining to fundamental freedoms, as well as legal and equality rights (sections 2, and 7-15) set out in the Charter for a period of five years (after which it could be challenged or re-enacted; for more information, see Montpetit 2019).

 

5. ALLOWS DUAL CITIZENSHIP

    Yes.

   
Dual Citizenship Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 1 1 1 1 1

Evidence:

  • The Citizenship Act does not prohibit the holding of multiple citizenships, and dual citizenship has thus been permitted since 1977. As a result, a Canadian citizen who acquires the nationality of another country may retain his or her Canadian citizenship; likewise, a foreign national who obtains Canadian citizenship is not required by Canada to renounce the original citizenship (see Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada 2020).

 

6. THE FUNDING OF ETHNIC GROUP ORGANIZATIONS OR ACTIVITIES

    Yes.

   
Funding Ethnic Groups Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 1 1 1 1 1

Evidence:

  • The original multiculturalism policy, which was enacted in 1971, included cultural maintenance as one of its key objectives and thus included funds dedicated specifically to ethnic organizations and activities. In 1972, as part of the Multiculturalism Policy, Canada set aside $200 million for the development of programs in language and culture maintenance (Leman 1999). 
  • When the Canadian Multiculturalism Act was passed in 1988, the focus shifted away from cultural communities and toward “all Canadians” (Biles 2006). This, coupled with a strategic review of the Multiculturalism Program in 1995, shifted the focus of funding away from ethno-specific activities and towards issues related to inclusion and institutional change (Biles 2006).
  • The Multiculturalism Program was housed at Citizenship and Immigration Canada until 2015, when it was transferred to the Department of Canadian Heritage. It continues to provide funding to non-profit organizations, Crown corporations, private organizations and institutions, as well as Indigenous governments or organizations that support the integration and inclusion of ethnic, racial, religious, and linguistic minorities in Canada (Canadian Heritage 2018). The grants and contributions program, known as Inter-Action, provides funding to various projects and community-events that “encourage positive interaction between cultural, religious and ethnic communities” and “foster intercultural and interfaith understanding, and raise awareness of the contributions of minority groups to Canadian society” (Canadian Heritage 2018).
  • In addition to the Inter-Action program, the Community Support, Multiculturalism, and Anti-Racism Initiatives Program also provides funding for diversity programming, including events, projects, and community building. The program aims to support intercultural understanding, equality, and civic engagement (Government of Canada 2020a).
  • As part of Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy, funds for racialized groups, religious minorities, and Indigenous peoples are also available through the Anti-Racism Action Program (Government of Canada 2020b). These grants are specifically intended to assist with anti-racism efforts in areas such as employment, justice, and social participation. 

 

7. THE FUNDING OF BILINGUAL EDUCATION OR MOTHER TONGUE INSTRUCTION

    Partially. Varies across provinces.

   
Bilingual Education Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5

Evidence:

  • Significant supports are provided for the maintenance and preservation of Canada’s official languages as well as for Aboriginal languages. In 2009, the federal and provincial governments signed a protocol governing official-language education and the delivery of programs in official language minority communities. Funding for the preservation of Indigenous languages was recently reconfigured under the Indigenous Languages Act in 2019, which outlined a “new approach” to funding Indigenous language programs and initiatives (Government of Canada 2020c). The central goal is to “support the reclamation, revitalization, maintenance, and strengthening of Indigenous languages through community-driven activities” (Ibid). 
  • With respect to the funding of education in other languages, the Canadian Multiculturalism Act states that it is the policy of the Government of Canada to “preserve and enhance the use of languages other than English and French.” However, education is itself a provincial responsibility in Canada, so the actual availability and delivery of mother tongue instruction varies.
  • Nonetheless, heritage language programs are available through ethnic organizations and private providers in most of the large immigrant-receiving communities. Ontario established its Heritage Languages Program in 1977, which provided funds for the teaching languages other than English or French. Similar programs have emerged in Québec, Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories (Stern et al. 2016). “International language” courses are also part of the primary and/or secondary school curriculum in manyprovinces. In Ontario, 74 elementary schools are offering extended-day international language programs (Iyer 2018). 
  • In this area, there has been little change from 1980 onwards, with language courses available but, where provided by the government, usually couched in terms of skill acquisition, rather than cultural maintenance.

 

8. AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FOR DISADVANTAGED IMMIGRANT GROUPS

    Yes.

   
Affirmative Action Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 1 1 1 1

Evidence:

  • The Canadian Human Rights Act protects against discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion and language (among other grounds), while the Employment Equity Act is aimed at addressing employment barriers and correcting hiring inequities within federally regulated employers; visible minorities are one of the four protected groups (CHRC 2009). Enforcement measures were included in the Employment Equity Act in 1995 (Canadian Human Rights Commission 2020; Labour Program 2013).
  • Although the Canadian Human Rights Act was enacted in 1977, it was over the course of the 1980s and 1990s that policy in this area began to change significantly, spurred in part by the Abella Commission, whose report in 1984 laid the foundation for the Employment Equity Act. The broader influence of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms has also beenimportant.
  •  These provisions are reproduced in a number of provincial statutes.
  • The Migrant Integration Policy Index (Huddleston et al. 2015) ranks Canada number 1 in terms of its equality policies and the breadth of applicability of its anti-discrimination policies, which cover several grounds of discrimination in a number of fields, including employment, housing, and the delivery of social services.