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e-4507 (Civil and human rights)

Initiated by Vijaykumar Jain from Brampton, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons

  • Hindus are a minority group with a population of approximately 850,000 or 2.3% of Canada’s population which includes growing numbers who are born in Canada and a majority of whom immigrated to Canada from many countries, including India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Caribbean, among others;
  • Overall Hindu Canadians are law abiding and peaceful citizens who contribute greatly to the Canadian economy, culture, and society;
  • Hindus represent the indigenous people of Indian sub-continent, with a distinct and diverse culture, languages and philosophy;
  • There have been numerous attacks on Hindu temples and Hindus are feeling unsafe in their places of worship;
  • Hindus in Canada face growing negative stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination at work, in schools and in the communities; and
  • Hindus traditions and culture are misrepresented and misunderstood by media and academia.
We, the undersigned, Citizen of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to :
1) Recognize Hinduphobia as a term in the glossary of terms in the Human Rights Code to describe anti-Hindu prejudice and discrimination;
2) Recognize following definition of Hinduphobia : Anti Hindu sentiment or Hinduphobia is denial, negation, prejudice or vilification against Hindus, Hinduism, or Hinduness; and
3) Fund the development of educational and training materials along with a plan to educate Canadians about Hinduphobia and anti-Hindu sentiment to raise awareness and address systemic and institutional Hinduphobia.

Response by the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Sameer Zuberi

The Government would like to thank the petitioner for expressing their concerns regarding the growing negative stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination of Hindus in Canada.

In Canada, Hindus have been an integral part of Canadian society since 1903. Over the past 120 years, Hindu communities have flourished and grown immensely. They've become increasingly active and prolific, leaving their mark on many aspects of Canadian society, from medicine and cutting-edge technology to the arts and thriving businesses.

November 2022 marked Canada’s first official Hindu Heritage Month, a moment to acknowledge and celebrate the many contributions that Canadians of Hindu heritage have made and continue to make in building a strong and prosperous country.

While Canada remains one of the most diverse and inclusive countries in the world, we are not immune to racism, discrimination, and hate. That is why our government has and continues to take concrete measures to ensure that all Canadians can equitably participate in Canada’s economic, cultural, social, and political spheres.

Canada has set in place a strong legislative framework that supports diversity and addresses discrimination, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, and the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Specifically, the Government of Canada recognizes the diversity of Canadians in regard to race, national or ethnic origin, colour and religion as fundamental characteristics of Canadian society in the Canadian Multiculturalism Act. Paragraph 3(1)(d) of the Act states that it is the policy of the Government of Canada to “recognize the existence of communities whose members share a common origin and their historic contribution to Canadian society, and enhance their development.”

Regarding the Canadian Human Rights Commission, it operates independently of government and is responsible for administering the law as it relates to human rights, which protects people in Canada from discrimination when based on any of the designated 13 grounds, which include race, national or ethnic origin and religion.

In 2019, the Government of Canada launched Building a Foundation for Change: Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019-2022, the goal of which is to help address racism in its various forms. With an investment of close to $100 million, the Strategy complements existing government efforts and programs aimed at eliminating inequities.

We are aware that our work is not yet finished, which is why our government announced a further investment of $85 million over 4 years, from 2023 to 2026, for a renewed Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy. Further, the Government acknowledges that police-reported hate crimes have increased by 72% between 2019 and 2021. This is why Budget 2023 announced that the federal government plans to introduce a new Action Plan to Combat Hate to confront hate in all its forms.

Please be assured that the government unequivocally rejects all forms of hate and discrimination and believes all Canadians must stand up against it where and when ever it is encountered, all while recognizing that it is our diversity that makes us stronger.

Open for signature
July 19, 2023, at 8:50 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
October 17, 2023, at 8:50 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Melissa Lantsman (Thornhill)
November 2, 2023 (Petition No. 441-01865)
Government response tabled
December 12, 2023
Photo - Melissa Lantsman
Conservative Caucus