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May 30, 2018/Toronto – Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change (COP-COC) is releasing its 2018 Racial Justice Report Card for Ontario, showing where the three main Ontario political parties stand on issues affecting racialized communities.

As a group, racialized communities experience higher rates of poverty, homelessness, school push out, and health inequities, while having greater difficulties accessing justice and the human rights system to address these various forms of discrimination.

The COP-COC 2018 Racial Justice Report Card examines the records and platforms of the three parties represented in the provincial legislature in – Access to Justice, Education and Learning, Employment, Health and Well-being, Housing and Homelessness, Human Rights, Newcomer Settlement and Integration, Justice and Policing, and Poverty.  The Report Card ranks the parties in each of these policy areas by how responsive they are to the needs of racialized communities – both Indigenous Peoples and peoples of colour. Scoring ranges from “A” for the most responsive to “C” for the least responsive.

The NDP received an ‘A’ for: Education and Learning, Employment, Health and Well-being, Housing and Homelessness, and Newcomer Settlement and Integration.

The Liberal Party received an ‘A’ for Access to Justice.

The NDP and Liberals both received ‘A’ for Human Rights, Justice and Policing and Poverty Reduction

The PC party received a “C” in all policy areas in the Report Card, either because it does not have a position on the issue or because the party or platform commitments stated so far fail to address the needs of racialized communities.

Issues impacting racialized communities have received little attention in the 2018 Ontario Elections, apart from some media speculation on which party would receive the most number of votes from so-called `ethnic’ communities.

“Peoples of colour and Indigenous peoples now make up about 1/3 of the Ontario population, and yet we are still being marginalized and treated as fringe groups.  We issue this Report Card to remind our political leaders and the mainstream media that our votes count and our issues matter,” said Avvy Go, Clinic Director, Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic and a steering committee member of COP-COC.

“The rise of hate crime and the Islamophobia as faced by the Muslim community and other people of colour in Ontario needs to be part of the conversation in this campaign,” said Mohamed Boudjenane from the Canadian Arab Federation, which is a COP-COC Steering Committee member.

“There are many issues that have particular relevance to racialized and immigrant communities. One example is the 3-month waiting period for OHIP.  As of now, none of the three parties that we assessed are prepared to say that they would repeal this provision – to make OHIP accessible to all new Canadians,” said Debbie Douglas, Executive Director of OCASI – Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, also a COP-COC Steering Committee member.

“In this election, issues such as human rights, racial profiling and legal aid have largely been ignored by all three parties,” said Shalini Konanur, Executive Director of South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario and COP-COC Steering Committee member.  “While there has been some new investment in the legal aid system, it is nowhere near enough to make the system fully responsive and sustainable. As racialized communities are over-represented among the poor, they look to the Government to ensure they have equal access to justice,” she added.

Regardless of who forms the next Government of Ontario, Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change urges all parties to adopt policies that will have the greatest positive impact on the members of Ontario’s ethno-racially diverse communities.

To read the full Report Card, please go to: https://colourofpovertyca.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/racial-justice-report-card-ontario-provincial-election-2018-final.pdf

For further information, please contact:

Amy Casipullai, OCASI- Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants – 416-524-4950

Avvy Go, Chinese & South East Asian Legal Clinic – 416-971-9674

Shalini Konanur, South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario – 416-487-6371

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