Statement by the Prime Minister on Emancipation Day

Office of the Prime Minister

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on Emancipation Day:

“Today, on Emancipation Day, we acknowledge the painful history of slavery here in Canada and celebrate the strength and determination of Black communities, who fought – and continue to fight – for freedom, justice, and equality.

“Officially designated last year by a unanimous vote in the House of Commons, Emancipation Day falls on the day in 1834 that slavery was abolished in the British Empire. This historic day paved the way to freeing over 800,000 enslaved Africans and their descendants in Canada, parts of the Caribbean, Africa, and South America. Since then, August 1 has been commemorated in many parts of the world, including through celebrations of freedom across Canada.

“Although slavery was abolished nearly 200 years ago, its effects continue to live on today. The legacy of systemic anti-Black racism is still embedded throughout our society, including in our institutions. That’s why today, on Emancipation Day, we pay tribute to the countless changemakers who have worked hard to ensure all members of Black communities in Canada can fully participate in society – it’s thanks to their perseverance and resolve that we have made real progress toward creating a better future for all.


Location Name
Government of Canada