Back Combating discrimination for a more inclusive Montreal

Montreal tackles discrimination robustly and comprehensively. As part of its internal processes, it recently introduced gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) in order better to respond to challenges in the area of diversity and inclusion. This method refers to the concept of intersectionality and adds analysis of needs and effects differentiated by other criteria to gender-based analysis. The approach is used to measure the impact of multiple discrimination on grounds that include gender, class and ethnocultural background, as well as disability, socioeconomic circumstances, sexual orientation and gender identity. These factors interconnect, and sometimes reinforce each other, although not always. The method involves in-depth analysis which shows, among other things, that a person can be disadvantaged for several reasons and that an overview of discriminatory factors is necessary so as to respond appropriately to the needs of a diverse population.

Moreover, in all its action, in particular in terms of combating racism and discrimination, the city seeks to embody and promote the values underpinning the Montreal Charter of Rights and Responsibilities.[1] In force since 1 January 2006, the Charter sets out the city’s fundamental values and commitments in all key areas of municipal action: democratic life, economic and social life, culture, leisure, physical exercise and sport, environment and sustainable development, safety and security and municipal services. It also makes provision for citizens who believe they have been wronged to submit administrative complaints to the Montreal Ombudsman. Among other languages, the charter has been translated into Arabic, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Haitian Creole, Greek, Hebrew, Italian and Spanish.

With regard to policies, the policy on fear-free access to municipal services is aimed at enabling all Montreal residents to access municipal services regardless of their immigration status. The policy requires staff of the city and its partners to adapt their practices so as to better serve individuals with no legal status or insecure immigration status. To this end, Montreal undertakes that all its administrative units will:

- make the necessary adjustments to the identity requirements applicable to access to their programmes and services;

- raise the awareness of their staff and service providers and enhance their knowledge of the different migration statuses and the resulting challenges, through training;

- adjust their interactions with these specific groups.

The 2019-2020 social development action plan makes provision for analysing municipal regulations to identify any potential for discrimination. To this end, there will be consultation of partners and new regulations will be adopted and implemented by the appropriate bodies.

At the same time, the Diversity and Social Inclusion Department (SDIS) is in the process of reviewing regulations that have a potential impact on racial or social profiling. The department already conducts ongoing monitoring of the issues relating to all types of discrimination and also co-operates closely with research chairs and specialised institutions so as to expand knowledge in this area.

It should also be noted that Montreal is the seat of the International Observatory of Mayors on Living Together, a network that brings together some 50 cities from all over the world to exchange experiences on social cohesion, managing diversity and inclusion. Through its network, the observatory fosters the concept of living together on an ongoing basis and promotes exchanges of experience from different cities worldwide. The city also supports the non-profit body, Equitas, in implementing an educational toolkit called “Play it fair!”, which is a user-friendly tool designed to promote human rights, non-discrimination and peaceful conflict resolution through informal education programmes for children, such as summer camps and extracurricular activities.

Lastly, Montreal showed an interest in the Council of Europe’s anti-rumour strategy but did not in the end follow through. Nevertheless, it pays particular attention to the issue of prejudice towards migrants or members of ethnocultural groups.

For instance, the intervention strategy of strand 3 of the 2018-2021 Montreal inclusive employment strategy seeks to build the capacity of Montrealers and, in particular, workers in terms of reception and inclusion so as to reduce prejudices and promote the employability of migrants in Montreal. An online training course on unconscious bias is in the process of being developed and will target city staff to make them think about unconscious bias which – sometimes on the basis of actual but stereotypical facts – can generate misconceptions.

[1] Human dignity, equality, inclusion, tolerance and justice. See:

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