International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – Unite against Racism

March 21 marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. On this day, and every day, we continue to confront racism however it shows itself, including racial profiling and criminalization, lack of employment and education opportunities, precarious work, unequal access to public services, environmental racism and lack of basic human rights for migrant workers. CUPE is proud to UniteAgainstRacism in support the Migrant Rights Network’s campaign for #MigrantJusticeNow and echoes the demands of migrant workers for landed status, family unity and full human and labour rights.

This year, CUPE joins with union members and others around the world in condemning the recent massacre of worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The perpetrator of this atrocity allegedly took inspiration from a similar massacre in Quebec City in January 2017. CUPE embraces its Muslim members, neighbours and friends in this dark time, and re-affirms that unions play a vital role in fighting hatred and fear of Muslim people, in Canada and around the world.

At the same time, March 21 is also a day to recognize the significant achievements of racialized and Indigenous peoples in advancing equality and justice in our communities, our workplaces and our union. This includes 18.5 per cent of our members whose activism has strengthened our movement by bringing new ideas, perspectives and energy into the struggles of working people.

On March 21, let us pause and recognize that racism and hate continues to exist in our communities. And let us recommit to fostering workplaces and communities that empower all workers to thrive equally, regardless of their race, gender, sexuality, or ethnicity.  We encourage all CUPE members to recommit to equity and freedom for all.

Members can take action

• Read CUPE’s submission on a national anti-racism strategy.
• Take a workshop, book a speaker. Register for a union workshop  that deals with anti-racism practices, dealing with harassment, discrimination or bullying. Invite someone to speak about anti-racism at your next union meeting.


• Participate in this year’s campaign to #UniteAgainstRacism and work for #MigrantJusticeNow organized by the Migrant Rights Network
• Intervene. Educate yourself on the best ways to intervene to challenge racist actions and how best to support the person or group affected. Speak out against racist acts like jokes, slurs, graffiti or name-calling.
• Challenge your workplace. Speak out about racist and discriminatory policies and practices in your workplace.
• Challenge yourself. Consider how some of your own assumptions might be influenced by discrimination.
• Become an ally. An ally is someone who actively supports racialized groups facing challenges. Being in alliance helps strengthen relationships in the workplace.

• Bargain. Negotiate employment equity language into your collective agreement. Contact the Human Rights branch for information at