Ontario is celebrating the uniqueness, vitality and continuing contributions of the Black community in Ontario by officially recognizing February 2016 as Black History Month through a proclamation.
The government also intends to introduce legislation in the near future that, if passed, would formally establish February as Black History Month in Ontario on an annual basis.
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.
“Black Ontarians have made vital contributions to Ontario’s economic, social and cultural landscape — and our province is fortunate to benefit from this legacy. Black History Month is an important celebration of the accomplishments of Black people, and our government is proud to formally recognize this rich heritage.”
— Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport
“Black History Month honours the legacy of black Ontarians, past and present, who have done so much to make Ontario the inclusive and culturally diverse province that it is today. I invite people of all cultural backgrounds to seize this opportunity to learn more about a significant part of our collective heritage.”
— Michael Chan, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade
The Parliament of Canada has officially recognized February as Black History Month since 1995. Since then only British Columbia and Quebec have enacted their own provincial legislation.
Ontario officially recognizes many cultures, including Hispanic, Tamil, Sikh, Jewish and Italian, through cultural heritage months.
Read the proclamation
Learn more about Black History Month
Jesse Wright, Minister’s Office, 416-314-4266
Denelle Balfour, Communications Branch, 416-326-1724