Every year on March 21, CUPE marks the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

And every day, CUPE members across the country continue to confront ongoing racism in our union, communities and workplaces, including racial profiling and criminalization, Islamophobia and anti-Semitic hate.

Black, Indigenous and racialized workers face discrimination in many aspects of their lives including inequities in employment and education opportunities, inadequate health care, precarious work, unequal access to public services, environmental racism and a lack of basic human rights for migrant workers.

At the same time, March 21 is a day to recognize the significant achievements of Black, Indigenous and racialized people in advancing equity and justice in our communities, our workplaces and our union. This includes our members, whose activism has strengthened our movement by bringing new ideas, perspectives and energy into the struggles of working people.

CUPE embraces our members, neighbours and friends. We reaffirm that unions play a vital role in fighting hatred and fear in Canada and around the world. Far-right, white supremacist groups have used the pandemic as cover to step up their mobilization, as we saw with the occupation of Ottawa and other ongoing disruptions in communities across the country. We must unite in solidarity to resist all right-wing attempts to spread racism and hate.

It is important for our members facing any form of racism, discrimination and/or harassment to contact their local steward or an executive member to file a complaint and/or grievance. It is equally important for locals to act promptly by listening to the member and ensuring that the complaint is brought through the entire grievance process.

CUPE stands strong with Black, Indigenous and racialized members experiencing racism. CUPE does not tolerate any harassing, racist or discriminatory remarks or acts of violence against anyone. Instead of division, we need global and local cooperation, and mutual aid.



  • Read CUPE’s Anti-Racism Strategy. The strategy’s 10 goals focus on recommendations to challenge systemic racism.
  • Register for a Union Education workshop that deals with anti-racism practices, including dealing with harassment, discrimination or bullying.
  • Read the Canadian Labour Congress report on Islamophobia and how to fight it in the workplace.


  • Order free copies of CUPE’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination poster.
  • Order CUPE’s Time to end racism button and sticker for yourself and members of your local.
  • Download CUPE’s March 21 colouring page.
  • Support the Migrant Rights Network in their campaign for full and permanent immigration status for all. Sign their petition demanding #StatusForAll.
  • Intervene. Educate yourself on the best ways to intervene to challenge racist actions and how best to support the person or group affected. Speak out against racist acts like jokes, slurs, graffiti or name-calling. And challenge your workplace by speaking out about racist and discriminatory policies and practices.


  • Negotiate employment equity language into your collective agreement. Contact the Human Rights branch for information at humanrights@cupe.ca