OTTAWA, June 1, 2021 – Today we celebrate the beginning of Italian Heritage Month in Canada, a time to showcase the rich culture and heritage of Italian Canadians.
Canada is home to more than 1.5 million Canadians of Italian descent, making it one of the largest Italian diasporas in the world. In Canada, Italian communities have contributed greatly through their achievements in all areas of society and have helped shape the Canada we know today. Italian Heritage Month is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the exceptional achievements that Italian Canadians have made—and continue to make—in building a strong, vibrant, and consciously more inclusive Canada.
As we celebrate these great contributions, we must also acknowledge and address the historic wrongs against the Italian Canadian community during the Second World War. Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a formal apology in the House of Commons for the internment of hundreds of Italian Canadians during this period. He also recognized the pain, hardship, and discrimination endured by these individuals, their families, and the Italian Canadian community for many years because of this historic injustice. The formal apology reminds us that we must learn from the mistakes of the past, and ensure that history does not repeat itself.
As Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, on behalf of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Government of Canada, I invite everyone from coast to coast to coast to learn more about the rich heritage of Italian Canadians and the inspirational role they have played—and continue to play—in our country. Keep well and safe.