Canadian Multiculturalism Act

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Canadian Multiculturalism Act
An Act for the preservation and enhancement of multiculturalism in Canada
Citation Canadian Multiculturalism Act
Enacted by Parliament of Canada
Date assented to July 21, 1988

The Canadian Multiculturalism Act is a law, passed in 1988, that aims to preserve and enhance multiculturalism in Canada.


The federal government, under Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, declared in 1971 that Canada would adopt multicultural policy.[1] Canada would recognize and respect its society included diversity in languages, customs, religions, and so on.[2] In 1982 multiculturalism was recognized by section 27 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.[3] The Canadian Multiculturalism Act was then enacted by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.[4]


In 1971, Canada became one of the first countries to adopt an official multiculturalism policy.[5] It was not until 1988 that it became an actual law. Not only did this policy make sure equality was given to all Canadian citizens, Aboriginal rights and Canada’s official languages were also set.[5]

The multiculturalism policy allows citizens to practice their religions and keep their identities without the fear of persecution. As a result, the policy believes that without this fear, Canadians would be more willing to accept different cultures. The policy, therefore, emphasizes a mutual respect between ethnicities and also acceptance of one’s personal beliefs.[5]

This policy guaranteed equality before the law and for pursuing opportunities whether personal, career, or in any other field.[5] This means anyone of any race or ethnic origin is capable of pursuing his or her interests without persecution. Canadian law, as a result, reflects many of these rights and belief as they guaranteed to all men and women.[5] All of these rights are also stated in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which is part of the Canadian Constitution.[5]

The Canadian Multiculturalism Act has two fundamental principles:[6]

  • All citizens are equal and have the freedom to preserve, enhance and share their cultural heritage.
  • Multiculturalism promotes the full and equitable participation of individuals and communities of all origins in all aspects of Canadian society.

The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) is in charge of making sure the multiculturalism policy is implemented to its fullest and it also reports on the initiatives that it is pushing for.[6] There are many roles within the Parole Board of Canada but the Executive Director is appointed the Multiculturalism Champion.[6] This positions includes the rights for supporting, encouraging, promoting and endorsing activities that:[6]

  • Ensure that Canadians of all origins have an equal opportunity to obtain employment at PBC;
  • Enhance the ability of all individuals and communities of all origins to contribute to the continuing evolution of Canada;
  • Enhance the understanding of and respect for the diversity of members of Canadian society;
  • Are sensitive and responsive to the multicultural reality of Canada, and
  • Make use of the language skills and cultural understanding of individuals of all origins.

The policies of the Parole Board of Canada is ushered by the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA).[6] This act deals with the creation of the use of the Parole Board Canada’s policies and programs.[6] The PBC attempts to emphasize diversity in Canada in different ways. Every PBC region works with its partner organization, the Correctional Service of Canada, on Regional Ethnocultural Advisory Committees.[6] It also participates on a national level in the National Ethnocultural Advisory Committee (NEAC).[6] Both of these committees help ensure that diversity and acceptance of all ethnicities are emphasized to their fullest on a regular basis. Alongside these duties, they also deal with issues and problems regarding ethnocultural diversity in Canada.[6]

The PBC also celebrates many events which help promote awareness about Canadian diversity in society and the committee also uses these events to promote diversity. Events may include cultural demonstrations, speakers, fouls, and much more during certain periods of the year.[6] For example, Black History Month helps promote the history of Black Americans by revisiting crucial parts of history.[6] The PBC, as a result, helps promote cultural diversity in conjunction with the Canadian Multiculturalism Act.


The Canadian Multiculturalism Act affirms the policy of the government to ensure that every Canadian receives equal treatment by the government which respects and celebrates diversity. The Act also:[7]

  • recognizes Canada's multicultural heritage and that this heritage must be protected
  • recognizes Aboriginal rights
  • recognizes English and French remain the only official languages but that other languages may be used
  • recognizes equality rights regardless of colour, religion, etc.
  • recognizes minorities' rights to enjoy their cultures.

Section 3 (1) of the act states:[8]

It is hereby declared to be the policy of the Government of Canada to

(a) recognize and promote the understanding that multiculturalism reflects the cultural and racial diversity of Canadian society and acknowledges the freedom of all members of Canadian society to preserve, enhance and share their cultural heritage

(b) recognize and promote the understanding that multiculturalism is a fundamental characteristic of the Canadian heritage and identity and that it provides an invaluable resource in the shaping of Canada’s future

(c) promote the full and equitable participation of individuals and communities of all origins in the continuing evolution and shaping of all aspects of Canadian society and assist them in the elimination of any barrier to that participation

(d) recognize the existence of communities whose members share a common origin and their historic contribution to Canadian society, and enhance their development

(e) ensure that all individuals receive equal treatment and equal protection under the law, while respecting and valuing their diversity

(f) encourage and assist the social, cultural, economic and political institutions of Canada to be both respectful and inclusive of Canada’s multicultural character

(g) promote the understanding and creativity that arise from the interaction between individuals and communities of different origins

(h) foster the recognition and appreciation of the diverse cultures of Canadian society and promote the reflection and the evolving expressions of those cultures

(i) preserve and enhance the use of languages other than English and French, while strengthening the status and use of the official languages of Canada; and

(j) advance multiculturalism throughout Canada in harmony with the national commitment to the official languages of Canada.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Miriam Verena Richter (July 2011). Creating the National Mosaic: Multiculturalism in Canadian Children¿s Literature from 1950 To 1994. Rodopi. p. 37. ISBN 978-90-420-3351-1. 
  2. ^ Understang of Ideologies, Oxford University Press Canada 2010
  3. ^ M. O. Dickerson; Thomas Flanagan; Brenda O'Neill (March 11, 2009). An Introduction to Government and Politics: A Conceptual Approach. Cengage Learning. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-17-650042-9. 
  4. ^ David Bennett (November 10, 1998). Multicultural states: rethinking difference and identity. Psychology Press. p. 220. ISBN 978-0-415-12159-0. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Government of Canada (October 19, 2012). "Canadian Multiculturalism: An Inclusive Citizenship". Government of Canada. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Parole Board of Canada (November 4, 2008). "The Canadian Multiculturalism Act". Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  7. ^ "Canada's Multicultural Policies." Understanding Canadian Diversity Edukit,
  8. ^ Jonathan L. Black-Branch; Canadian Education Association (1995). Making Sense of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Canadian Education Association. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-920315-78-1. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]