After decades of advocacy efforts by community leaders including (but not limited to) Rosemary Sadlier OOnt, Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard, MP Majid Jowhari, MP Paul Manly, MP Greg Fergus, Green Party Leader Annamie Paul and FreeUp! Founder and Celebrator-in-Chief Ngozi Paul, Emancipation Day is now recognized by the Federal Government of Canada. 

On March 24, 2021, 355 MPs in the House of Commons voted unanimously in favour of Motion 36 tabled by MP Majid Jowhari.


Majid Jowhari – Liberal
Richmond Hill


That the House recognize: (a) the British Parliament abolished slavery in the British Empire as of August 1, 1834; (b) slavery existed in British North America prior to its abolition in 1834; (c) abolitionists and others who struggled against slavery, including those who arrived in Upper and Lower Canada by the Underground Railroad, have historically celebrated August 1 as Emancipation Day; (d) the Government of Canada announced on January 30, 2018, that it would officially recognize the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent to highlight the important contributions that people of African descent have made to Canadian society, and to provide a platform for confronting anti-Black racism; (e) the heritage of Canada’s people of African descent and the contributions they have made and continue to make to Canada; and that, in the opinion of the House, the government should designate August 1st of every year as “Emancipation Day” in Canada.

“I'm very pleased that there has been overwhelming support, For almost 200 years Emancipation Day has gone generally uncommemorated, and untaught, though people of African descent have lived in Canada since the transatlantic slave trade and the Indigenous Peoples of these territories pre-date the colonialists.”

Annamie PaulGreen Party Leader

The root advantage of bringing this motion forward is to make sure we never forget, and at the same time that we educate.

MP Alex Ruff

It's about being an informed and inclusive society that is willing to listen to the experience of various ethnicities and cultural backgrounds, and acknowledging the wrongs done in the past,

MP Majid Jowhari