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Ontario Passes Legislation Making February Black History Month

Province Celebrating Diverse Heritage

York Region MPPs Michael Chan, Reza Moridi, Steven Del Duca, Dr. Helena Jaczek and Chris Ballard are pleased to announce that Ontario passed legislation today to formally recognize February as Black History Month on an annual basis.

The legislation ‒ which received support from all parties ‒ gives Black History Month official status in law, ensuring that the uniqueness, vitality and continuing contributions of the Black community in Ontario will be celebrated for generations to come.

Ontario first proclaimed February as Black History Month in 1993 to mark the 200th anniversary of a law banning the importation of slaves into Upper Canada. Since then, Black History Month has continued to be celebrated but has not had official status.

Honouring the province’s heritage and diverse communities is part of the government's plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.

QUOTES

“Our government is building on a long and proud tradition of celebrating February as Black History Month and ensuring that the contributions made by the Black community here in Vaughan and across the province are remembered for years to come.”

— Steven Del Duca, M.P.P., Vaughan

“Markham’s Black community is vibrant, dynamic and an integral part of our City’s tremendously diverse population. By formally legislating Black History Month, our government is ensuring that the legacy, courage, achievements and contributions of the Black community are honoured, celebrated and remembered in Markham and across the province in the years to come.”

— Michael Chan, M.P.P., Markham-Unionville

“The Black community in Ontario, including Richmond Hill, has contributed greatly to our rich history, cultural diversity and economic vitality. I am proud that Ontario now formally recognizes Black History Month in law, ensuring that we continue to pay tribute and celebrate the Black community in our Province.”

— Reza Moridi, M.P.P., Richmond Hill 

“Canadians and Ontarians alike have long celebrated our Country as a beacon of diversity and opportunity.  However, it is important to remember that this was not always the case.  Through decades of struggle Black Canadians have claimed rights long denied.  During Black History month we honour the men and women of all ethnicities who stood for justice and equality.  I am proud that our government has passed legislation recognizing February as Black History Month.”

— Chris Ballard, M.P.P., Newmarket-Aurora

“I am proud to be a member of a government that continues to celebrate Ontario's diverse heritage. It is important that we recognizing contributions of the black community to our province and Black History Month every February will help us highlight those contributions annually.” 

— Dr. Helena Jaczek, M.P.P., Oak-Ridges Markham

“The Black community in Ontario has a long and rich history, and we are proud to recognize this important heritage during Black History Month every February. I am proud that our government has worked to preserve this tradition in law — ensuring that future generations will continue to honour those who came before them and pay tribute to their legacy.”

— Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

 

QUICK FACTS

  • Black History Month has been established under federal law since 1995, but only two provinces — British Columbia and Quebec — have their own legislation.
  • Ontario officially recognizes many cultures, including Hispanic, Tamil, Sikh, Jewish and Italian, through cultural heritage months.

 

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