Statement by Minister Hussen on Emancipation Day

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August 1 marked Emancipation Day, the anniversary of the official abolition of slavery in Canada in 1834

OTTAWA, ON /CNW/ – On Emancipation Day, we take a moment to acknowledge Canada’s dark history of slavery and the intergenerational impact that it has had on Black communities in our country. 

Over hundreds of years, unspeakable acts of violence were inflicted upon millions of enslaved people of African descent, and it was only until 1834 that slavery was abolished in what is now called Canada. This is a history that all Canadians share, and we have a responsibility to ensure that this truth is kept alive.

Recognizing the destructive legacy of slavery in Canada also means acknowledging that its impact on Black communities did not end on August 1, 1834. Systemic anti-Black racism and hate still persist in our country, causing harm and inequity while also negatively affecting the overall health and well-being of people of African descent.

Hate has no place in Canada. Our government continues to work with communities to tackle discrimination, break intergenerational barriers, and build a more equitable society for everyone. That’s why we officially recognized the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent (2015–2024). Guided by the Decade’s pillars of recognition, justice, and development, our government has made substantial investments to advance equality and improve the social, health, and economic well-being of people of African descent in Canada                                         

As we take time to remember a dark chapter in our history, let’s also use this opportunity to acknowledge what Emancipation Day means to Black Canadians today. This day shines a light on the past fight for freedom, and the ongoing work towards equity for people of African descent in all parts of our society. For many in the community, this day is also a chance to celebrate their ongoing contributions to Canada at events in towns and cities across our country.

On this Emancipation Day, I encourage all Canadians to learn more about the impact of slavery on our country and to recommit to building a more just, inclusive, and equitable society for everyone.

SOURCE Canadian Heritage