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  • News
  • February 16, 2016

Ontario Passes Legislation Making February Black History Month

Province Celebrating Diverse Heritage

Ontario passed legislation today to formally recognize February as Black History Month on an annual basis. 

The legislation -- which received support from all parties -- gives Black History Month official status in law, ensuring that the uniqueness, vitality and continuing contributions of the Black community in Ontario will be celebrated for generations to come.

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.

Quick Facts

  • The government also issued a proclamation on January 25 officially recognizing February 2016 as Black History Month in Ontario. While the proclamation only applies to 2016, the new legislation applies every year.
  • Black History Month has been established under federal law since 1995, but only two provinces — British Columbia and Quebec — have their own legislation.
  • Ontario officially recognizes many cultures, including Hispanic, Tamil, Sikh, Jewish and Italian, through cultural heritage months.

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