The Halifax Declaration – a collective, unified roadmap for real change

Ottawa, May 16, 2023Today, Canada’s Black community has embarked on a historic moment – the publication of the Halifax Declaration for the Eradication of Racial Discrimination.

The Halifax Declaration is the first collective, grassroots record of the state of being a Black Canadian today and the solutions needed across policy, legislation, research and investment to achieve real change that not only benefits the Black community but every Canadian.

Canada has an historic opportunity to heal the wounds of history and this Declaration is itself historic, marking the coming together of Canada’s Black community to raise our collective voice and demand change. The Declaration collates the realities and the tangible, practical solutions that Canada’s Black voices have already identified, requested and demanded, in many cases for a long time now. We will not stop this important work to see these solutions realized.

– The Right Honourable, Michaëlle Jean

The Declaration is being issued to mark the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024) and is rooted in the same three themes: recognition, justice and development.

The Black population in Canada is projected to more than double to over 3 million people by 2040. From all around the globe, to Black Canadians born and rooted here for generations, we enrich the fabric of this country. From STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to the arts, from sports to business, in boardrooms and classrooms, from government to the grassroots, Black leaders are rising up. Our demands for recognition, justice and development ring out in unity, determined and strong. Our moment is now. The future of Canada is also Black.

El Jones, poet, professor and activist

Contributions for the Declaration were gathered over six years through in-person and virtual National Black Canadians Summits convened by the Michaëlle Jean Foundation and validated through a national survey conducted with support from the Network for the Advancement of Black Communities and the Black Opportunity Fund. The Declaration is named after the last National Black Canadians Summit hosted in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2022.

As a first step towards achieving the demands set out in the Declaration, the Michaëlle Jean Foundation will be launching a youth-empowerment initiative in the weeks ahead.

The next National Black Canadians Summit will be hosted in Montreal in 2024 to mark the end of the UN International Decade for People of African Descent.

We published a new version of the Declaration in 2024, which can be found here: Halifax Declaration, third edition