Ottawa, February 10, 2023 —The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today issued the following statement:
“With Black History Month underway, I have the privilege of marking this important occasion with a special citizenship ceremony presided by Citizenship Judge Rochelle Ivri and featuring special guests. A livestream of the event will be available, as we welcome 21 of Canada’s newest citizens.
“As Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, I honour the past, present and future contributions of Black Canadians toward building a nation that is economically, socially and culturally prosperous. In 1995, the Honourable Jean Augustine championed the creation of Black History Month in Parliament, providing all of us with an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of Black communities to Canada. Jean Augustine continues to be a tireless advocate for diversity and inclusiveness in Canada. As Canada’s first female, black member of Parliament, she has played a significant role in helping the country embrace these values and create a more inclusive society. Her contributions to Canadian society are a testament to her unwavering commitment to serving her community.
“The theme for this year’s Black History Month is “Ours to tell.” It is an opportunity for all Canadians to listen to the many diverse and vibrant Black voices in communities across the country as they tell their own, unique stories. Whether these stories have been shared for three or 300 years, Black History Month is a time for all Canadians to remember where we’ve been and to acknowledge where we still have work to do.
“This month and every month, we must continue to recognize systemic racism and racial discrimination faced by far too many people and communities in Canada and around the world. Given our nation‑building mandate, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada continues to actively work toward achieving racial equity, reaffirming that diversity is our strength through our Anti-Racism Strategy 2.0.
“All of us have a responsibility to take action, and today I encourage all Canadians to learn about Black History Month and take part in community events.
“It is my privilege to extend a warm welcome to our newest citizens as we observe Black History Month. Last year, Canada achieved a historic milestone by welcoming 373,000 new citizens. Now, we are poised to surpass that record with even greater numbers. This remarkable growth showcases the strength and diversity of our country, as well as the abundant opportunities and freedoms it offers to all citizens. This month, we celebrate the invaluable contributions of Black Canadians to our shared history, and acknowledge their significant impact on shaping our society. Let us also embrace the bright future they are helping to forge for us all.”