ACA-E: Multiculturalism and Anti-racism - Exhibit

A: Foundations and Basic Commitments

Anti-Racist Education

Anti-Racist Education strives to identify and change educational practices, policies, and procedures that promote racism, as well as the racist attitudes and behaviour that underlie and reinforce such policies and practices.  Anti-racist education provides knowledge, skills, and strategies for educators to examine racism critically in order to understand its origin and to recognize and challenge it.


Barriers have, historically, prevented the equitable representation of designated groups throughout the workforce.  These barriers, although not necessarily intentional, result in discrimination against the designated groups; examples of types of barriers are:

  • attitudinal barriers: bias and stereotyping by co-workers, supervisors, and managers;
  • cultural barriers: lack of familiarity by employees with cultural values of the designated groups; the group's lack of familiarity with the cultural values of the organization;
  • information barriers: lack of information about opportunities for employment, training, special projects, promotions, etc.
  • physical barriers: work places, facilities, jobs, and tools that cannot be accessed by persons with disabilities;
  • systemic barriers: employment policies, practices, and systems that have an adverse impact on designated groups; for example, qualification statements requiring education credentials with no consideration given to equivalent combinations of education and experience.


Bias is an inaccurate and limited view of the word, a given situation, or individuals or groups.  A bias against or towards members of a particular racial, ethno-cultural, religious, or linguistic group can be expressed through speech, non-verbal behaviour, and written and other materials.


Culture is the totality of ideas, beliefs, values, knowledge, habits, and way of life of a group of individuals who share certain historical experiences.


Curriculum includes both the stipulated practices and procedures governing the delivery of education, as well as the unwritten practices and procedures that influence student activities, behaviours, perceptions, and outcomes.

Designated Groups

The Federal Employment Equity Act refers to four groups that are under-represented in the public sector.  These groups include persons with disabilities, First Nations people, members of visible minorities, and women.


Discrimination is the practice or act of making distinctions between people, based on such characteristics as race, ethnicity, nationality, language, religion, gender, disability, or sexual orientation, which lead to the inequitable treatment of individuals or groups.  There are two types of discrimination - Direct (intentional) and Systemic.

Discrimination: Direct

Direct discrimination is an overt action taken on the basis of an individual's or group's response to characteristics such as race, ethnicity, nationality, language, religion, gender, disability, sexual identity, age, or social class that is meant to bring about the inequitable treatment of individuals or groups that have one or several of these characteristics.

Discrimination: Systemic

Systemic discrimination is differential treatment through seemingly neutral policies or practices that are reinforced by institutional structures and power and that result in the inequitable treatment of members of particular groups.  Systemic discrimination has a strongly negative impact on disadvantaged groups.


Diversity refers to the unique characteristics that all persons possess that distinguish them as individuals and that identify them as belonging to a group or groups.  Diversity is a concept that includes notions of age, class, culture, disability, ethnicity, family, gender, language, place of origin, race, religion, and sexual orientation.

Educational Equity

Educational equity refers to the processes and outcomes of educational policies, programs, and services that enable all learners to receive a quality education.


Ethnic is an adjective used to describe groups that share a common language, race, religion, or national origin.  Everyone belongs to an ethnic group.


Ethnocentrism is the condition that is characterized by preoccupation with ones own cultural or national group and belief in its superiority over others.

Ethno-cultural Group

An ethno-cultural group are people who share a particular cultural heritage or background.  Every Canadian belongs to some ethnic group.  There are a variety of ethno-cultural groups among people of African, Asian, European, and indigenous North, Central, and South American backgrounds in Canada.  Some Canadians may experience discrimination because of ethno-cultural affiliation (ethnicity, religion, nationality, language).

DMT Responsibility: AS-LS

Adopted Date: 
Monday October 07, 1996
Revision Date: 
Feb 1997