OTTAWA — The federal government plans to launch a national ad campaign aimed at making more white Canadians knowledgeable about systemic racism.
Launching a public education and awareness campaign is part of the Liberal government's anti-racism strategy.
That strategy says $3.3 million will be spent on a marketing effort.
Details of what Canadian Heritage is looking for in such a campaign, set to launch later this year, are included in documents posted on the government's procurement website.
The department says its target audience is "non-racialized Canadian middle-aged adults" — defined as between 30 and 44 years old — living in any rural or urban area.
It specifically points out that includes adults living in places such as Hamilton, Thunder Bay and Quebec, considered to be "racism hot spots" because of the high volume of police-reported hate crimes.
According to the documents, the government wants its audience to be taught about "implicit bias," and for the campaign to "weave together an emotionally compelling narrative of contemporary Canadian identity and values as antithetical to racism."
The department says the overall goal is to get more Canadians fighting against systemic racism by making them aware of its impacts through marketing, social media, posters and public engagement.
It notes the campaign should also look at ways to "engage relevant influencers."
"In this COVID-19 context, Canadians are face-to-face with a unique opportunity to reimagine the social contract … in ways that place anti-racism, equity, reconciliation and human rights at the heart of the recovery process," the documents say.
The department cites how data shows that during the COVID-19 pandemic, Indigenous, Black, Asian, Muslim and Jewish communities faced more discrimination and hate crimes.
The issue of systemic racism was brought to the forefront in May 2020 after the murder of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis, by former police officer Derek Chauvin.
His death sparked protests and rallies across Canada calling out racism in this country too.
More recently, the country has been seized by the pain and legacy of the residential school system after First Nations, using ground-penetrating radar, started discovering hundreds of unmarked graves at former school sites where they say Indigenous children were buried.
— With files from The Associated Press
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 7, 2021.
Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press