Calendar of Important Days
This day recognizes that the injustices and prejudices fueled by racial discrimination take place every day.
The United Nations established the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD) in 1966 as part of a larger effort to denounce South Africa’s apartheid regime. In choosing March 21, the UN commemorated the victims of the Sharpeville Massacre. On that day in 1960, the South African Police (SAP) opened fire on a peaceful crowd of adults and children in the Black township of Sharpeville, killing 69 and wounding more than 180. The crowd had been walking to the local police station to protest passing laws that, among other injustices, restricted where Black South Africans could live, travel, and work.
In Canada, this date is an opportunity to reflect on the fact that while progress has been made, Indigenous Peoples, racialized communities and religious minorities in Canada continue to face racism and discrimination every day. It is also a day to re-commit our efforts to combat all forms of racial discrimination, injustice, systemic racism and hate to ensure a world where everyone is respected, safe, and has equitable access to contribute meaningfully to all aspects of society.
Racism persists in systems and institutions in Canada and around the world. Its impacts feature in our daily news cycles. And wherever it finds a voice, it can cause lasting harm to individuals and communities
Red Dress Day for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls
May 5th marks Red Dress Day, also known as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirit People. This day aims to bring attention to and honour the Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people who have suffered from disproportionate violence in Canada. The inspiration for Red Dress Day came from Métis artist Jaime Black's REDress Project installation, which featured empty red dresses symbolizing the missing and murdered women.
The issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirit People (MMIWG2S) is a human rights crisis of gender-based and racialized violence in Canada. The number of victims is disputed, with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police reporting 1,181 Indigenous women and girls who went missing or were murdered between 1980 and 2012, while Indigenous groups estimate the number to be over 4,000 due to underreporting and ineffective data-keeping.
Indigenous women, girls and members of the 2SLGBTQQIA community in Canada face a disproportionate amount of violence. Although they make up less than 5 percent of the Canadian population, they account for 24 percent of female homicide victims.
The need for an independent federal inquiry into the crisis was a longstanding demand from Indigenous communities, women's associations, and human rights groups. In 2015, the federal government pledged over $53 million to establish the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which examined and reported on the crisis and its causes. The inquiry's final report, published in June 2019, outlined 231 Calls for Justice to address, end, and redress the crisis.
Every year on May 21st, UNESCO leads the celebration of the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. This day highlights the importance of intercultural dialogue for achieving peace and sustainable development, as well as the richness of the world's cultures. Canada welcomes diverse cultural expressions and recognizes their significance in shaping our common identity. The country's diversity, two official languages, and Aboriginal heritage have given rise to a wide range of cultural expressions that are integral to Canadian life.
The message of the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is more important than ever with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the United Nations in September 2015 and the resolution on Culture and Sustainable Development adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2015. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be achieved by drawing upon the creative potential of the world's diverse cultures and engaging in continuous dialogue to ensure that all members of society benefit from sustainable development.
Cultural diversity matters because three-quarters of the world's major conflicts have a cultural dimension. Bridging the gap between cultures is essential for peace, stability, and development. Cultural diversity is a driving force of development not only with respect to economic growth but also as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral, and spiritual life. It is also an asset that is indispensable for poverty reduction and the achievement of sustainable development.
In 2001, UNESCO adopted the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. In December 2002, the UN General Assembly declared May 21 to be the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. The day provides an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to advance the four goals of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions adopted on 20 October 2005: supporting sustainable systems of governance for culture, achieving a balanced flow of cultural goods and services and increasing mobility of artists and cultural professionals, integrating culture in sustainable development frameworks, and promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms. Acceptance and recognition of cultural diversity, particularly through the innovative use of media and Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs), are conducive to dialogue among civilizations and cultures, respect, and mutual understanding.
Celebrating Pride Month in Canada: Embracing Diversity and Inclusion
Welcome to a month of love, acceptance, and celebration! June is recognized as Pride Month, a time when we come together to honour and support the LGBTQ+ community. Canada, known for its commitment to inclusivity and diversity, takes pride in showcasing its support and fostering an atmosphere of equality and acceptance for all. In this post, we will delve into the significance of Pride Month in Canada and explore the various events and initiatives that make it an extraordinary celebration.
Pride Month holds historical significance, as it commemorates the Stonewall Riots that took place in New York City in June 1969. This pivotal event sparked a global movement for LGBTQ+ rights, leading to the establishment of Pride celebrations worldwide. In Canada, the first-ever Pride parades were held in Toronto and Vancouver in the early 1970s, marking the beginning of a powerful tradition that has grown in strength and inclusivity over the years.
Pride Across Canada:
From coast to coast, Pride Month is celebrated across Canada with enthusiasm, pride, and a sense of community. Major cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Calgary host vibrant Pride parades, festivals, and events that attract thousands of participants and allies. These gatherings serve as platforms to express solidarity, promote awareness, and create safe spaces where people can freely celebrate their identities.
Canada has been a trailblazer in promoting LGBTQ+ rights and inclusivity. In 1969, Canada decriminalized homosexuality, making it one of the first countries in the world to do so. Since then, significant strides have been made to protect LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination and to ensure their equal rights in all aspects of life. Canada legalized same-sex marriage in 2005, becoming the fourth country to do so. In recent years, the Canadian government has also taken steps to recognize and protect the rights of transgender individuals.
Throughout Pride Month, various community organizations, LGBTQ+ centers, and advocacy groups collaborate to provide support, resources, and services to LGBTQ+ individuals. These organizations play a crucial role in promoting mental health, offering counseling, organizing social events, and advocating for policy changes that positively impact the community. Their dedication and efforts contribute to building a more inclusive society for all Canadians.
Canadian businesses have embraced their role in supporting Pride Month and fostering diversity and inclusion. Many companies show their support by participating in Pride parades, hosting internal events, and adopting policies that prioritize LGBTQ+ rights. Their involvement demonstrates a commitment to creating inclusive workplaces and promoting equality.
Pride Month in Canada is a joyous celebration that not only commemorates the LGBTQ+ community's history but also highlights the progress made toward equality and inclusivity. With its rich history, vibrant celebrations, and inclusive policies, Canada has become a beacon of hope and acceptance for the global LGBTQ+ community. Let us join hands, stand in solidarity, and continue to create a society where love and diversity are celebrated every day.
Remember, Pride Month is a time to learn, reflect, and celebrate. Happy Pride Month, Canada!
World Refugee Day 2023: Healing and Hope for Canada's Newcomers
Every year on June 20th, the world comes together to observe World Refugee Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about the challenges faced by refugees around the globe. On this day, we recognize the resilience, courage, and strength of those forced to flee their homes due to conflict, persecution, or natural disasters. In celebration of World Refugee Day 2023, the New Canadians Centre is organizing a special event called "Community Conversation: Healing and Hope - Reflections on Refugee Experiences in Canada." This event aims to foster dialogue, understanding, and support for the healing process of refugees in Canada.
Date: Tuesday, June 27, 2023
Time: 6 PM
Venue: Peterborough Public Library
This Community Conversation is a timely and significant event that invites individuals from all walks of life to join in a panel discussion centered around the theme of healing in the context of Canada's refugee communities. The event brings together a diverse panel of experts and individuals with lived experiences who will share their insights, challenges, and personal journeys.
The panel discussion will shed light on the often-overlooked issue of mental health among refugees. It will explore the various challenges faced by refugees during their displacement and the subsequent healing process. By providing a platform for dialogue and storytelling, the event aims to create a deeper understanding of the importance of holistic support for refugees.
The panelists, drawing from their personal experiences, will emphasize the significance of compassion and care in rebuilding lives. Their stories will highlight the resilience and hope that refugees bring with them, as well as the positive impact that community support and integration can have on their healing journey.
The New Canadians Centre believes that fostering healing and social inclusion is a collective responsibility. By hosting this event, they hope to encourage Canadians to play an active role in supporting the healing and integration of refugees. The event will provide an opportunity for attendees to learn, reflect, and connect with one another, creating a safe and inclusive space for dialogue.
Mark your calendars for Tuesday, June 27th, 2023, at 6 PM, and head to the Peterborough Public Library to be a part of this important conversation. Let us envision a world where healing replaces harm, and care becomes the world's shared currency on World Refugee Day 2023. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of refugees
In Canada, the month of June is dedicated to National Indigenous History Month, providing a valuable occasion to delve into the distinctive cultures, traditions, and experiences of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. June 21st is also National Indigenous Peoples Day. It serves as a moment to pay tribute to the narratives, accomplishments, and enduring strength of Indigenous Peoples, who have inhabited this land since ancient times and continue to shape the ever-changing landscape of Canada.
At the New Canadians Centre, we respectfully acknowledge that we reside on the ancestral lands of the Anishinaabe Mississauga, adjacent to Haudenosaunee Territory. We hold deep respect for the enduring presence of First Nations and Métis Peoples in Ontario, and we express our gratitude for their stewardship of the Earth and their teachings. This recognition is not limited to a particular time but extends to every day of the year.
While we observe Indigenous History Month in June, it is crucial to emphasize that allyship is an ongoing commitment. If you identify as non-Indigenous, we encourage you to continuously engage with the wealth of valuable resources available and to honour the rich history, heritage, and diversity of Indigenous peoples. Educate yourself, initiate meaningful conversations with your family, friends, and community, and develop a comprehensive understanding of what it means to be an ally. To support your learning journey, Dr. Lynn Gehl's Ally Bill of Responsibilities serves as an informative guide. However, it is your responsibility to actively educate and inform yourself.
- Know whose land you are on. If you are non-Indigenous, you are occupying land that is
being colonized. You are a settler. To have a greater understanding of the land’s original
caregivers and history, visit Whose Land, an educational tool and interactive map. It is
useful for understanding Indigenous treaties and communities across Canada. The website
offers videos of appropriate land acknowledgments as well as some great Frequently Asked
The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) also has a Guide to
Acknowledging First Peoples and Traditional Territory.
- Be culturally sensitive. This is past and present ongoing trauma. It’s important to be
sensitive when posting/sharing/discussing content that could be triggering and upsetting to
- Know the protocol. Take the time before going to powwows or a ceremony to understand
the protocol, through research or by kindly asking a volunteer or worker once you’ve arrived.
Read A Guide to Taking Your Family to a Powwow for the First Time (available on CBC) for
some powwow protocol.
- Understand what allyship to Indigenous people can look like. An outline of allyship and
responsibilities by an Anishinaabe-kwe scholar can be found in the Ally Bill of
Responsibilities. If you’re concerned about practicing allyship appropriately, this is helpful to
- Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Call to Action Report. The
TRC was a part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and had a
mandate to document and prepare a comprehensive historical record on the policies and
operations of the schools and produce a report that includes recommendations to the
Government of Canada. The TRC completed its work in 2015.
- Understand our full history and how it affects us today. The University of Alberta offers
a free and in-depth 12-lesson course called Indigenous Canada from their Faculty of Native
Studies. This course explores key issues facing Indigenous peoples today from a historical
and critical perspective highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations. Last year,
Habitat Canada staff took the 4 Seasons of Reconciliation, a paid three-hour multimedia
course from the First Nations University of Canada, to learn about the history and culture of
Indigenous communities in Canada, the history of residential schools, and treaties around
- Donate to survivors of residential schools and organizations working to further
- Canadian Roots Exchange
- First Nations Child and Family Caring Society
- Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society. In addition, IRSSS has a 24-hour crisis
line for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school
Celebrating Canadian Multiculturalism Day!
On June 27, we proudly come together as a nation to commemorate Canadian Multiculturalism Day, a special occasion that highlights the remarkable diversity and inclusivity that defines our great country.
Canada is known worldwide as a shining example of multiculturalism, where people from every corner of the globe have found a place to call home. On this day, we acknowledge and embrace the rich tapestry of cultures, traditions, and perspectives that contribute to the vibrant mosaic of our society.
From the First Nations and Indigenous peoples who have inhabited these lands for millennia to the countless immigrants and newcomers who have chosen Canada as their sanctuary, our nation is a true melting pot of backgrounds, languages, religions, and customs. It is through the celebration and understanding of these differences that we strengthen the fabric of our multicultural society.
Canadian Multiculturalism Day serves as a reminder of the immense value of diversity, fostering harmony and unity while encouraging respect for all. It is a day to appreciate the contributions of each individual and community, recognizing that our collective strength lies in our ability to embrace the unique identities and experiences that shape us.
As we reflect on this day, let us renew our commitment to building a society that champions equality, inclusivity, and social justice. Together, we can create a Canada that embraces its multicultural heritage and stands as a beacon of hope, tolerance, and acceptance for the world.
So, whether you're part of a cultural community, an immigrant, or a proud Canadian, let us join hands, celebrate our differences, and continue to foster an environment of compassion, understanding, and unity.
On June 27th, we stand united to raise awareness about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Canada. This day serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by individuals living with PTSD and their loved ones and aims to foster understanding, compassion, and support within our communities. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those affected by this often misunderstood condition.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is a mental health condition that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. It affects people from all walks of life and can result from various situations, such as combat, natural disasters, accidents, violence, or personal loss. Symptoms of PTSD can include intrusive thoughts, nightmares, flashbacks, hyperarousal, avoidance behaviours, and emotional numbing. It is important to recognize that PTSD is a real and valid condition, and those affected deserve empathy and appropriate care.
🤝 Breaking the Silence, Shattering the Stigma
PTSD Awareness Day provides an opportunity to break the silence surrounding this condition and shatter the stigma associated with it. By promoting open conversations, we can create a safe space for individuals to share their experiences, seek support, and access resources. Let us stand together as a nation and reaffirm our commitment to supporting the mental well-being of those living with PTSD.
💙Supporting Those Affected
There are several ways you can support individuals dealing with PTSD:
1️⃣ Educate Yourself: Take the time to understand the symptoms, triggers, and challenges faced by people with PTSD. Increased knowledge can help dispel misconceptions and foster empathy.
2️⃣ Show Empathy: Be a listening ear and a compassionate presence for those who may be struggling. Offer support and understanding without judgment or pressure.
3️⃣ Spread Awareness: Share information about PTSD on social media, in your workplace, and within your community. Help dispel myths and encourage others to seek help when needed.
4️⃣ Access Resources: Promote available resources and mental health services in your area. Encourage individuals to seek professional help, join support groups, or explore therapeutic options.
🌎 Together, We Can Make a Difference
PTSD Awareness Day Canada serves as a powerful reminder that no one should face the challenges of PTSD alone. By fostering understanding, empathy, and support, we can help individuals living with PTSD reclaim their lives and find the strength to heal. Let us work together to create a society that nurtures mental well-being and ensures that no one is left behind.
🙌Join us today in raising awareness for PTSD. Together, we can make a difference!