British Columbia is celebrating Multiculturalism Week Nov. 13-19, 2016, a time to acknowledge the contributions of B.C.’s multicultural society and recognize the many ways diversity helps nurture inclusiveness, understanding and mutual respect, and connects communities throughout the province.

The most ethnically diverse province in Canada, B.C. welcomes nearly 40,000 new immigrants every year. The cultural diversity this creates plays a vital role in the development of a strong and vibrant social and economic future for the province. Its rich, multicultural society provides an important bridge across the Pacific that the B.C. government draws upon to help strengthen trade relationships, attract new investment, and create and protect jobs for British Columbians.

During Multiculturalism Week, the provincial government organizes the British Columbia Multicultural Awards with advice and support from the Province’s Multicultural Advisory Council (MAC). The awards recognize individuals, organizations and businesses whose exceptional work contributes to the multicultural fabric of the province.

Past award recipients include:

  • a former government-assisted refugee who works extensively with migrant youth;
  • a Comox Valley community organization committed to promoting diversity, multiculturalism and inter-cultural understanding; and
  • immigrant sisters and business owners who strive to create an environment where language is not a barrier to employment.

British Columbia’s Multiculturalism Act was created in 1993 to recognize the diversity of British Columbians, encourage respect for the province’s multicultural heritage, promote racial harmony and foster a society without barriers to inclusion.