Confronting systemic racism in Canada

In recent years, the Commission has been undergoing an organization-wide process of internal evaluation to strengthen our work, and to take a closer look at how racism or racial bias may influence our processes, our decisions, and the way we serve people in Canada.

In 2020, this process involved developing the Commission's Anti-racism Action Plan. As part of the Action Plan, we have committed to publicly reporting on our efforts to bring about anti-racist organizational change and promote anti-racism across Canada.

Highlights of our anti-racism work in 2020

Advocacy and policy

Participated in public debate to counter those arguing that systemic racism does not exist in Canada.

Raised awareness about how the COVID-19 crisis has amplified pre-existing racial inequality for Indigenous, Black and other racialized people in areas such as access to health care, access to housing, access to life saving essential services, economic opportunity, and over-policing.

Participated in the launch of the Act2EndRacism web platform to help people in Canada call out and report anti-Asian, COVID-driven racism right when it happens.

Co-hosted — with the Anti-Racism Secretariat of Canada — the “Confronting Racism and Addressing Human Rights in a Pandemic” web conference.

Acknowledged the International Decade of Persons of African Descent in public addresses and social media.

Celebrated Black History Month and participated in a series of events honouring the legacy of Fred Christie.

Called on Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers responsible for human rights portfolios to prioritize anti-racism initiatives.

Listening and Learning

Met with racialized experts to hear their views on how the Commission can improve its processes for people filing race-based complaints. A comprehensive summary of the dialogue session can be found on the Commission's website: Canadian Human Rights Commission Dialogue Session with Representatives from Racialized Communities on Advancing Racial Equality in Canada.

Developed our Commission's internal draft Anti-Racism Action Plan to bring about lasting anti-racist organizational change.


Released the report on the results of the horizontal employment equity audit, looking at systemic issues in Indigenous employment in the banking and financial sector.

Began conducting a horizontal employment equity audit to look at the representation of racialized people at the management and executive level across the federal public service.

Initiated an independent third-party employment equity audit to examine the representation of racialized people, Indigenous people, and people with disabilities within the Commission, using a GBA+ (Gender-based Analysis) lens, to help identify barriers to employment at senior levels for designated employment equity groups.

Access to Justice

Established a pilot project to ensure greater scrutiny of complaints that allege discrimination based on race, colour or national or ethnic origin.

Launched a project to retroactively record and analyze racebased data from past complaints, and capture disaggregated race-based data for all new complaints.

Our people

Engaged external facilitators to meet with racialized and Indigenous employees to hear their personal perspectives and experiences with possible institutional and structural barriers within the Commission.

Continued to provide our staff with anti-bias training and see this ongoing training as essential to the way forward.