Learning from Equality and Diversity in Canada

Elizabeth Kirchhoff
Content Type
Working Paper
Center on Human Rights Education, University of Denver
In 2016, the world is arguably more socially, economically, and politically interconnected than ever before. And yet, while the process of globalization offers humanity the possibility for unprecedented growth, learning, and progress brought on by connectivity, it also presents its own challenges. Perhaps most evident of these trials is the question of how to reconcile the human values of diversity and equality. In a world characterized by global financial inequality, disappearing languages, and mass migrations, the necessity to protect both equality and diversity is perhaps needed now more than ever. Indeed, research findings suggest that cultural and ethnic diversity within a country is correlated with greater levels of inequality as well. And yet, this is not true in all cases, and in order to avoid the pitfalls of cultural and ethnic uniformity and economic inequality in a rapidly globalizing landscape, it imperative to study and learn from countries that excel in both capacities. Canada, for instance, provides us with an excellent success story. According to a study from the University of Oldenburg, Canada has the greatest level of ethnic and cultural diversity in the Western hemisphere, and is also ranks 9th in the world on the UNDP’s Human Development Index. And so the question becomes, How have they done it? How has Canada, a nation with more than 200 ethnic groups and 200 languages managed to ensure both cultural plurality and relative equality? And perhaps more importantly, can other countries learn from Canada’s success?
Human Rights, Inequality, Social Policy, Diversity
Political Geography
Canada, North America