As we approach the 40th anniversary of Canada’s multiculturalism policy, the concept of multiculturalism is under attack in many jurisdictions. The leaders of Germany, France and Britain, have each declared that multiculturalism has been a failure in their countries, serving to separate and segregate, rather than integrate (Edmonton Journal, February 13, 2011). It seems timely therefore, to briefly review the origins and evolution of Canada’s multiculturalism policy and examine future directions in light of the changing global and national situation, and newly emerging public discourses on integration, inclusion and the meaning of Canadian identity.
The focus of this paper is on the role multiculturalism policy plays in creating a more inclusionary society in the twenty-first century in Canada. We set the context by presenting a brief historical overview of multiculturalism policy since its introduction in 1971 and summarizing some of the recent Canadian discourse surrounding multiculturalism. One of the key questions we explore is whether multiculturalism policy should move beyond focusing on the integration of population groups marginalized by national, racial, religious or ethnic origins, to addressing broader social inclusionary processes that influence inequities and impact on nation.
Keywords: CVSS, Centre for Voluntary Sector Studies, Working Paper Series,TRSM, Ted Rogers School of Management
Hyman, I., Meinhard, A. & Shields, J. (2011). The role of multiculturalism policy in addressing social inclusion processes in Canada (Working Paper Series Volume 2011 (3)).Toronto: Ted Rogers School of Management, Centre for Voluntary Sector Studies, Ryerson University.