New Brunswick, Canada

Commissioner on systemic racism

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About the Review

This review is a Government of New Brunswick initiative that seeks to develop an understanding of the nature and impact of systemic racism in the province. Dr. Manju Varma will lead these efforts, working independently from government, to produce a final report with recommendations to the government on the development of a provincial strategy and action plan to address cross-sectoral concerns such as:

  • barriers to opportunity; 
  • equitable access to programs and services; 
  • and systemic racism in:
    • health care
    • education 
    • social development
    • housing
    • employment
    • criminal justice. 

The commissioner may also identify and address other sectors that impact these designated groups. The final report will be a public document.


First 50 days:

Understand Phase

  • Create team
  • Work with internal team to determine objectives/mandate.
  • Develop Terms of reference for obtaining objective.
  • Determine suitable quantitative and qualitative research methodologies
  • Communicated intentions to identify and contact stakeholders
  • Create communications tools

First 6 months:

Action Phase

  • Implement chosen quantitative and qualitative research methodologies
  • Develop required tools
  • Engage with stakeholders to begin tasks identified in the understand phase
  • Support communication tools

6-9 months:

Data Coding & Triangulation

  • Code data and triangulate with other sources for validity checks
  • Continue stakeholder engagement and share potential solutions designed to create systemic change

9-12 months:

Systems-level Recommendations

  • Use the results of previous phases to inform systems level recommendations for a provincial strategy. 
  • Share recommendations in accordance with established communications plan.
  • Final report to be shared with the Public

Mandate of the Commissioner

The commissioner, who will operate independently from government, will focus on the following objectives:

  • Carry out a public consultation to gather views and information about the nature and impact of systemic racism on racialized immigrants, Wolastoqiyik, Mi’gmaq, Peskotomuhkatiyik, other Indigenous populations, Black, and people of colour as well as other minority populations in New Brunswick.  The Commissioner will equally engage with government institutions, in particular, the education, health, social development and justice sectors.
  • Conduct a comprehensive review about the extent and scope of systemic racism in New Brunswick, including the government’s role in eliminating systemic racism both within provincial institutions and agencies and in the province generally.

How you can participate

The participation period is now closed. We thank all those who took the time to participate in this important exercise.



View the 2022 Systemic Racism Commissioner’s Final Report


About the Commissioner

Manju Varma, Ph.D. moved to Canada with her family at the age of two and grew up in Moncton, NB. She obtained her doctorate in anti-racist education from the Ontario Institute in Education/University of Toronto. For the past 30 years she has focused on issues around diversity and anti-racism in New Brunswick and has published both national and internationally on the topics of mental health, diversity & youth and anti-racist education.

From 2001-2008, she was an Assistant Professor with the University of New Brunswick. Later she joined the Federal government and has worked at Canadian Heritage, Correctional Services Canada, and currently, is the lead for the Office of Inclusion, Equity and Anti-Racism at the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. She is also a certified Conflict Mediator (Harvard Law School) and Negotiator (Dalhousie University).

Manju Varma

The team

Junior Kalala is the Executive Assistant for the Commission. He is an active member of several committees focussed on social issues such as mental health, poverty and homelessness. He was also recently named one of Moncton's top 40 under 40.

Junior Kalala

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