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Ontario establishing anti-racism directorate

Click to play video: 'Premier Wynne announces new anti-racism initiative'
Premier Wynne announces new anti-racism initiative
WATCH ABOVE: Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced a new anti-racist initiative Tuesday morning, naming Minister Michael Coteau to oversee the implementation of a plan to eliminate racism within the province – Feb 16, 2016

TORONTO – Ontario is establishing an anti-racism directorate 10 years after it promised to do so.

In 2006 the Liberals passed legislation that would enable them to create such an office, but Premier Kathleen Wynne says the focus on issues of racism has sharpened over the past year.

She says the government has done a lot of work over the years on this file, but issues faced by Syrian refugees and the debate over police street checks – known as carding – has shown the discussion must be taken on anew.

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Culture Minister Michael Coteau will also now be the minister responsible for anti-racism.

But there is so far no budget nor a business plan for the office, but Coteau will “consult with community members to establish the specifics of the directorate’s mandate.”

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The NDP has long been calling for an anti-racism secretariat and leader Andrea Horwath says while it should have been put in place a long time ago, she is looking forward to this government listening – “for a change” – to voices of people in the community.

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