(Ottawa – March 28, 2023)

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and leading community organizations across Canada have been calling for reform to challenge how government agencies have unfairly targeted racialized communities. Today, the Ministry of Finance put forward an updated risk assessment model that has taken positive steps toward addressing problems of bias and systemic racism.

NCCM had long identified the challenge of a biased risk assessment model in a March 2021 joint report published with the University of Toronto’s Institute of Islamic Studies. The report noted, among other things, that the 2015 Risk Assessment model placed 100% of all terrorist financing risk with racial minority communities.

Today, after years of community advocacy, the updated National Inherent Risk Assessment clearly acknowledges many of the changes that needed to be made to the 2015 model. There is an explicit recognition that a growing multicultural population in Canada has generated a healthy level of philanthropy abroad—and that is not inherently a source of risk or suspicion.

There is also, critically, explicit recognition of the role of systemic racism and unconscious bias when looking at terrorist risk financing. Secondarily, the report also talks for the first time about risks posed by right-wing white supremacist groups and other IMVE threats.

“While the new report is not perfect, it takes a number of critical steps forward in acknowledging the challenges with Canada’s risk assessment model,” said Dr. Nadia Hasan, NCCM’s Chief Operating Officer and co-author of the 2021 joint report with UofT.

“We thank the Deputy Prime Minister and her office for responding to the concerns of communities by providing clearer guidance as to how risk should be assessed towards racialized communities,” Hasan added.