• Al Jazeera

Canada's First Nationwide Emancipation Day

August 1, 2021

Protesters take part in a sit-in in Toronto, Canada, last year to mark Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in Texas, two years after the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves elsewhere in the United States [File: Carlos Osorio/Reuters]

Cited article by Al Jazeera


HRRC's Response:

Canada has officially recognized August 1st as Emancipation Day, a day of recognition of the abolishment of slavery in British colonies on the same day in 1834.


This presents a symbolic commemoration of the history of slavery in Canada as a former British colony that lasted over a 200 year period, ending with the abolition of slavery on August 1, 1834. It's noted that Black and Indigenous people were enslaved during this lengthy period. While this recognition is important, advocates stress the need for continuing efforts to combat systemic racism.


HRRC supports these commemorations as they provide recognition and healing, but unless they form a basis for progressive actions they can appear hollow. Especially in light of the recent discoveries of indigenous children in Canadian boarding schools, there is further need for efforts made than a symbolic recognition.