Our History

Formation of the CRRF

The Canadian Race Relations Foundation was created by the Government of Canada as a Crown corporation in 1996, as part of the Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement, to reaffirm the principles of justice and equality for all in Canada. As a signatory to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Canada has resolved to adopt all necessary measures for speedily eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and manifestations.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides that every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal benefit of the law without discrimination. In addition, the Canadian Multiculturalism Act provides that it is the policy of the Government to promote the full and equitable participation of individuals and communities of all origins in the continuing evolution and shaping of all aspects of Canadian society and to assist them in the elimination of any barriers to such participation.

The Government, in concluding the Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement, condemned the excesses of the past. The Canadian Race Relations Foundation Act (“Act”) was given royal assent on February 1, 1991, and proclaimed by the Government on October 28, 1996. The Foundation opened its doors in November 1997.


At the time of proclamation, the Foundation was seeded with an endowment of $24 million from the Government. Half of the endowment ($12 million) was provided on behalf of Japanese Canadians in commemoration of injustices suffered by them during and after World War II. The Foundation operates on income derived from investments of the endowment.

Consistent with the Act, the Foundation:

  • Is managed by a Board of Directors consisting of a Chairperson and up to 11 Directors from across Canada, each appointed for a term of up to four years.
  • Has a full-time Executive Director who has supervision over and directs the work and staff of the Foundation and serves as an ex-officio non-voting Board member.
  • Has all the Board members and the Executive Director appointed by the Governor in Council.

The Foundation operates at arm’s length from the Government, and its employees are not part of the federal public service. The Foundation has registered charitable status. The Foundation’s office is located in the City of Toronto, as specified in the Act, but its activities are national in scope.

Decades of commitment

In November 1999, the CRRF with its partners and sponsors, launched “See People for who they really are: Unite Against Racism,” the largest anti-racism campaign of its kind in Canadian history.

As part of its efforts to engage Canadians in a national dialogue about racism, the campaign featured the public service announcements (PSAs) produced by directors from across the country (Nova Scotia, Québec, Ontario, the First Nations, and British Columbia) interpreting a different aspect of racism as it affects Aboriginal Peoples and racialized minorities in Canada.

Learn more about one of our first campaigns.

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