New Brunswick’s commissioner on systemic racism says the province needs a task force focused on dismantling systemic racism within policing.
Manju Varma, who was appointed in 2021 to examine systemic racism in New Brunswick, completed her final report and it has been submitted to the government.
Varma said she found a lot of division and hate during her study.
“The trucker convoy and its ties to white supremacy, the invasion of Ukraine, the growth of extremist groups and online hate, and the rise of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism – just to name a few,” she said.
Varma said she feels concerned about the report sitting on a shelf, but she strongly suggested the province should provide residents with quarterly updates on implementing recommendations.
Her report details 86 recommendations to the provincial government, 29 of which focus on addressing New Brunswick’s Indigenous communities.
Here are some of the report’s key recommendations:
- Recommendation 1 – Educate GNB senior leaders and elected officials on the meaning of systemic racism.
- Recommendation 3 – Provide further financial support and leadership to the Diversity and Inclusion teams, Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer.
- Recommendation 4 – A clear strategic plan to combat hate and discrimination in New Brunswick, including online hate.
- Recommendation 5 – Develop an anti-racism policy and mandate that all workplaces adhere to this policy.
- Recommendation 6 – Demonstrate GNB’s commitment to fighting systemic racism by creating a body and lead person at a commissioner or deputy minister level empowered with overseeing the dismantling of systemic racism.
- Recommendation 10 – Address challenges faced by the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission (NBHRC).
- Recommendation 13 – Revamp, simplify and coordinate services for newcomers.
- Recommendation 16 – Mandate self-regulated professional bodies to make their recognition of international credentials simple and equitable.
- Recommendation 17 – Create public education initiatives to decrease the divide between Francophone and Anglophone communities.
- Recommendation 18 – Mandate to collect race-based data in health care.
- Recommendation 27 – Mandate anti-racism perspectives into the School Improvement Plan.
- Recommendation 43 – Mandate all sports organizations to have an anti-racism policy.
- Recommendation 47 – A task force focused on dismantling systemic racism in
New Brunswick policing.
- Recommendation 57 – Rescind the directive restricting land acknowledgements.
- Recommendation 61 – Remove racist terms from identified New Brunswick locations.
- Recommendation 62 – Provide unprecedented effort to revitalize and protect Indigenous languages of the Mi’kmaw, Wolastoqey and Peskotomuhkati.
“If we want this province to be truly welcoming, inclusive and supportive of equal opportunity, this report will be a valuable guide,” said Premier Blaine Higgs.
“We will take time to review the report and its recommendations to determine what steps will be taken next.”
The commissioner’s final report is available here.