Black History Month: Four Centuries and Counting - Our Journey Continues

This year, CEIU Ontario members are invited to participate in Black History Month festivities and events that honour the legacy of Black Canadians, past and present. Members can take this time to celebrate the many achievements and contributions of Canadians with African and Caribbean heritage who, throughout history, have done so much to make Turtle Island (Canada) the culturally rich, compassionate and prosperous nation we know today. It is also an opportunity for all of us to learn about the wide range of Black experiences and the vital roles this community has played throughout our shared history.


From 1604, when Mathieu Da Costa, a multilingual interpreter, recorded their first steps on Turtle Island (Canada), to The Slavery Abolition Act on August 1, 1834, making enslavement illegal, to the International Decade for People of African Decent (2015­2024) and most recently, the Employment Equity Act Review Task Force's final report  (2023) recognizing Black people as its own equity group; Black people have made strides. However, there is still work to do.


CEIU Ontario members can show support by initiating real and meaningful conversations within the union, with co-workers and the employer. Here are a few examples of actions that show support to our Black members:


  • Acknowledging that racism and discrimination exist in our union.
  • Understanding that there is no such thing as reverse racism.
  • Learning about anti-Black racism, systemic racism and oppression.
  • Committing to making space for Black people.
  • Amending by-laws to ensure there is a seat at the table for Black members.
  • Ask Black people in the union, workplace and community what they need in terms of support.
  • Recognize workplace racial trauma as a health and safety issue from a psychologically safe perspective.


Throughout this month and the months to follow I urge you to participate in the movement to dismantle discriminative policies in Canadian society. As always, a win for one is a win for all.


Cece Cameron,

CEIU Ontario Human Rights and Race Relations (HR/RR) Representative