From the arrival of Mathieu Da Costa, a navigator and interpreter in the 1600s, to today, Black Canadians have had a marked impact and influence on our country’s heritage and identity. Black History Month gives all Canadians the opportunity to learn about and celebrate the many accomplishments and contributions that Black Canadians have made and continue to make on our country’s history and cultural landscape, including in medicine.

It is also a time to identify and work to break down the many barriers Black Canadians face. Access to health services, health outcomes, and medical experiences are different for BIPOC (Black Indigenous and Persons of Colour). Doctors Manitoba joins Shared Health in committing to disrupt racism for patients and professionals in the health-care system.

Last year we celebrated Black History Month with stories about two of Manitoba’s Black physicians including trailblazer Dr. June James and rural IMG Dr. Chukwuma Abara. Stay tuned for this year’s feature stories highlighting Black physicians. 

On February 13, 2008, the Honourable Donald H. Oliver (Canada’s first Black Senator) introduced the Motion to Recognize Contributions of Black Canadians and February as Black History Month, which was unanimously passed. The motion highlighted some of the many accomplishments of Black Canadians, including Anderson Ruffin Abbott, Canada’s first Black medical doctor from the 1860s to early 1900s.

Join us this month in exploring the following events, resources, and websites to learn more and celebrate Black History in Canada.

CBC Gem has 9 documentaries that celebrate Black culture and history:

CBC Gem plans release its eight-part series Black Life: A Canadian History