November 28, 2013

2014 Nominations for the Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism

Posted by Fabiola Arevalo - Bellissimo Law Group PC

Do you know an individual or organization who has made an exceptional contribution to promoting multiculturalism in your community?

Earlier this week Canada’s Minister for Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, invited Canadians to send in their nominations for the 2014 Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism.  This will be the 6th annual award given out by the Minister and his partner foundation, the Canadian Race Relations Foundation; a leading agency dedicated to the elimination of racism in Canada.

The Paul Yuzyk Award was created in 2009 to recognize individuals or groups in communities across Canada who have made strong contributions to fostering multiculturalism and helping newcomers integrate into local communities.

The award’s namesake, Paul Yuzyk (1913 – 1986), seen in the above picture with then Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was a Canadian historian, university professor and Senator frequently referred to as the ‘father of multiculturalism’.  He was born in Saskatchewan to Ukrainian immigrant parents, but faced numerous acts of racism as a young adult that changed his path in life and led him to academic, cultural and diplomatic work. Yuzyk introduced the concept of multiculturalism in a 1964 senate speech criticizing the government’s focus on English-French Biculturalism, which failed to recognize that Canada was in fact a ‘multicultural’ society.  He helped to establish multiculturalism as central to Canadian heritage and identity.

The Paul Yuzyk Award has two categories: Outstanding Achievement, and Lifetime Achievement given to individuals who have made a contribution to Canadian pluralism for ten years or more.

One award is granted each year to either an individual or a group. The recipient receives a certificate of honour signed by the Minister, and is asked to nominate a registered Canadian not-for-profit organization to receive a $20,000 grant from the Government of Canada.

Previous recipients include Mr. Bashir Ahmed of Edmonton Alberta, who chose the Somali Canadian Education and Rural Development Organization for the 2013 $20,000 grant; and Bridget Foster of St. John’s Newfoundland in 2012, who selected the Association for New Canadians.

For eligibility criteria and how to nominate an individual for the 2014 award, nomination packages are available.  Click here to read the full bio on Canada’s father of Multiculturalism.