Ontario passes anti-racism legislation

ONTARIO passed legislation on Thursday that positions the province as a leader in fighting systemic racism and advancing racial equity for all.

The Anti-Racism Act, 2017 strengthens the government’s commitment to identify and combat systemic racism in policies, programs and services and build a fair society where everyone is provided equal opportunity, the provincial government said.

The legislation:

  • Establishes the Anti-Racism Directorate in legislation to ensure its sustainability
  • Requires the continuation and regular review of a multi-year anti-racism strategy, ensuring the sustainability and accountability of the government’s anti-racism work
  • Mandates a review of the anti-racism strategy at least every five years, in consultation with the public and community partners
  • Enables the government to implement race data collection and an anti-racism impact assessment tool, to help identify, remedy or prevent inequitable racial impacts of policies and programs.

The Province said it will continue working with Indigenous and racialized communities, including those impacted by anti-Black racism, Islamophobia, antisemitism and other forms of racism, to ensure their voices are heard and reflected in government’s anti-racism efforts.

Michael Coteau, Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism, said: “Ontario is taking a stance against systemic racism, positioning our province as an anti-racism leader in the country. This legislation will enable us to build greater racial equity, and build an even stronger Ontario by fighting systemic racism, including anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia and discrimination facing other racialized communities.”

Quick Facts


  • Ontario’s Anti-Racism Directorate was established in February 2016.
  • On March 7, 2017, Ontario released A Better Way Forward: Ontario’s 3-Year Anti-Racism Strategic Plan that includes initiatives to combat systemic racism and create equitable outcomes for Indigenous and racialized communities.
  • Last year, the Anti-Racism Directorate held 10 public community meetings across Ontario, attracting thousands from across the province. The Anti-Racism Act, 2017 responds to input from the public who called for legislation to ensure the long-term sustainability of the government’s anti-racism efforts.
  • The Anti-Racism Act, 2017 includes provisions that protect privacy and personal information and provides the Information and Privacy Commissioner with an oversight role.
  • Ontario’s racialized population is projected to grow to 40 per cent of the province’s population by 2031.