Recognizing April as Arab Heritage Month

TORONTO, April 8, 2022 /CNW/ – For the first time this year, Arab Heritage Month could be federally recognized every April. On February 7, 2022, MP David McGuinty introduced Bill C-232 – An Act respecting Arab Heritage Month. The Canadian Arab Institute (CAI) and our community partners have been advocating for a federal Arab Heritage Month across party lines for years. On March 3, the Bill was debated in Parliament for the first time, and received praise from all political parties – you can watch the full debate here. Additionally, CAI is spearheading a coalition of over 35 community organizations across Canada that is requesting the Minister of Canadian Heritage to support the swift passage of Bill C-232.

Arabs are proud of their racial, ethnic, and cultural roots AND they’re proud to be Canadian. Due to the anti-Arab racism we face, we are often forced to choose between our Canadian identity and our Arab roots. But Arab Heritage Month shows us that those two are not mutually exclusive. This month matters because it provides the opportunity for Arab-Canadians to showcase their culture, their talents, and why they’re proud to be both Arab and Canadian to people from other communities. There are a lot of misconceptions and misinformation out there on who Arabs are, what community members are like, and what their history is in this country. For a community of more than 1 million people in Canada, this month is a long time coming.

Here are some statistics that showcase how Arab-Canadians are doing:

  • Despite being one of the most highly educated communities, Arabs currently have the highest unemployment rate amongst all racialized communities – and this was the case even before the pandemic. 
  • Around 1 in 4 Arabs (24.7%) in Canada have a core housing need – meaning that their housing falls below at least one of the adequacy, affordability, or suitability standards. Only around 40% of Arabs own property in Canada. Arabs have the highest core housing needs amongst visible minority groups in 4 out of 10 Canadian provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia.
  • As recently as last month, RBC reported that Arab entrepreneurs face the largest difficulties and obstacles in obtaining financing, with more than 1 in 4 Arab businesses reporting that they’re struggling. 
  • Almost two-thirds of hate crimes reported to the police last year by Arab-Canadians are violent in nature.

It’s time to recognize Arab Heritage Month!

SOURCE Canadian Arab Institute

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