Canada must formally apologize for its historic role in the enslavement of Africans in this country and acknowledge the contributions of Black Canadians

From one of the more prominent plaintiffs in the proposed class action lawsuit against the Canadian government for past and current discrimination.

Question the need for a separate category under the Employment Equity Act for Black Canadians, given that the disaggregated data already includes Black Canadians, and government employment equity reports are now including that data.

And, as I have written elsewhere, disaggregated government employment and public service survey data highlights the similarities and differences between the different visible minority groups (https://multiculturalmeanderings.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=48735&action=edit), with some groups being comparable to Black Canadians, others doing better.

Hopefully, the federally regulated sectors will start to collect comparable disaggregated data, as agree this would be helpful. But it should be collected for all visible minority groups, not just Black Canadians:

American civil rights activist James Baldwin once asked, “how much time do you want for your ‘progress.’ ” Canadian Black politicians, leaders, professors, civil rights activists, and associations have for years called upon Canada to formally apologize for its role in the enslavement of Africans in this country. This long-awaited apology would bring about acknowledgment, recognition, and much-needed healing of the effects of slavery still reflected in the treatment and the experiences of Black Canadians. Canada’s long overdue apology for the treatment of the No. 2 Construction Battalion and recognition of Emancipation Day are not enough.

For too long, Black Canadians have been fighting anti-Black racism symptoms by calling for changes in the criminal justice system, employment, housing, and education sectors. We have also been calling for changes in the same organizations that are meant to bring about equality, specifically amendments to the Employment Equity Act (EEA) to establish a category for Black Canadians, as well as to the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC), which is more often than not dismissive of anti-Black racism. As of March 2021, more than 600 former and current Black public service employees are suing the federal government over the unjust practice of Black employee exclusion due to systemic discrimination dating back from the 1970s. More than 12,000 Canadians have signed a petition calling on Justin Trudeau and the Government of Canada to end systemic discrimination and Black employee exclusion within the federal public service.

Black Canadians lack capital power and political representation; thus, our calls for change are dismissed and our demands shoved for another day, promises of change are never realized. The Canadian government itself practices discrimination against Black Canadians and is thus unwilling to force change. In addition to the above mentioned lawsuit by Black government of Canada employees, Canada has officially apologized to several indigenous peoples, apologized over the Chinese head tax, and for sending Japanese-Canadians to internment camps during the Second World War. The government has also rightly apologized for its discrimination, criminalization, and the injustices endured by the Canadian LGBTQ community members. Yet, Black Canadians are still awaiting such turning points and are disheartened to repeatedly ask a prime minister who himself repeatedly wore a Black face and contributed to our dehumanization. So, long as the Canadian government discriminates, it cannot in good faith and with the same breath implement equal rights and progress.

In a 2019 survey, the Canada Race Relations Foundation found that Black Canadians and Indigenous peoples are the most likely groups to report racial discrimination experiences, and they are also the groups widely understood by others to experience such treatment.

The government is aware of the pervasive nature of anti-Black racism in Canada. In 2017, the federal government invited the United Nations Human Rights Council working group of experts on people of African descent to examine the legal, institutional and policy framework and measures taken to prevent racial discrimination and related intolerance faced by Black Canadians. While acknowledging Canada’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, the UN expressed deep concern about Black Canadians’ human rights situation.

It noted that Black Canadians faced disproportionately high unemployment rates and forced to take low-paying jobs with little security and poor prospects when working. The UN cited the multiple and intersectional forms of racism at play against Black Canadian women who make 37 per cent less than white men, and 15 per cent are less than white women, with over one in four living below the Canadian poverty line. The UN working group recommendations included that Canada recognizes Black Canadians as a distinct group who continue to make profound economic, political, cultural and spiritual contributions to Canada. Additionally, it proposed a mandatory nationwide policy on collecting data disaggregated by race and other identities to determine if and when racial disparities exist for Black Canadians. Furthermore, it remarked that the category of “visible minority” obscures the degrees of disparities in Black Canadians’ treatment and specific human rights concerns.

In January 2018, Canada officially recognized the UN International Decade for People of African Descent, stipulating that the international community acknowledges that people of African descent represent a distinct group whose human rights must be promoted and protected. It also calls for adoption or strengthening of comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation and ensuring its effective implementation.

Amid COVID-19, Statistics Canada indicated that the pandemic had hard-hit Canada’s Black population (approximately one million people aged 15 to 69). Data revealed that in the three months ending in January 2021, the unemployment rate among Black Canadians (13.1 per cent) was about 70 per cent higher than that among non-visible minority Canadians (7.7 per cent). Additionally, almost one-third of employed Black women (31.7 per cent) worked in health care and social assistance in January 2021, bearing the brunt of response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Groundbreaking research by the Edmonton-based African Canadian Civic Engagement Council and Innovative Research Group unveiled how COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting the health and finances of Black Canadians. It showed that Black communities are experiencing layoffs, reduced work hours, and reduced household incomes at higher rates. Fifty-six percent of Black respondents said their job, or the job of someone they knew, had been affected, compared with the national average of 46 per cent.

The government’s ongoing initiatives and resources to address systemic racism and anti-Black racism in Canadian institutions and the privately regulated sectors are welcomed. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Bardish Chagger, minister of diversity and inclusion and youth, acknowledge that racism is one of the root causes of social and economic gaps for Indigenous peoples. The more recent 2021 Privy Council call to action to deputy ministers, heads of separate agencies, and heads of federal agencies to reflect deeply on the unjust treatment of Black people and other racialized groups and Indigenous peoples is helpful. It is encouraging that the Privy Council statements distinctly recognized and named Black Canadians in its call to eradicate systemic racism and appropriately used the words racialized communities rather than visible minorities and Indigenous Canadians, rather than aboriginal peoples. This is in stark contrast to the outdated federal legalization meant to eradicate systemic racism and take positive measures towards employment equity in the federal government and federally regulated private sectors, namely the EEA. The Federal Black Employee Caucus (FBEC), established in 2018 to support efforts to address issues faced by Black federal public servants, is also a positive development in the governments’ efforts towards engaging Black employees and learning about their first-hand experiences with systemic racism as it relates to barriers to career to advancements.

The Employment Equity Act requires that federal jurisdiction employers take proactive measures to measure progress on the programs it puts in place. The Public Service Commission (PSC) collects and analyzes hiring, promotion, selection process, survey response and other data for these designated groups. In its January of 2021 audit report on employment equity representation in recruitment, the Commission found that the representation rate of visible minority groups declined at the organizational screening and assessment stages. Of the visible minority sub-groups examined in the audit, Black candidates experienced a more significant drop in representation than other visible minority groups, both at the organizational screening stage and at the assessment stage. Additionally, according to the Federal Black Employee Caucus (FBEC), Black people encounter more significant challenges and obstacles than their mainstream counterparts in their efforts to be recruited and promoted in the federal public service.  The FBEC further state that Black federal employees report above-average levels of harassment and discrimination and are over-represented in the lower ranks. They note ongoing marginalization and underemployment affect the health of some Black employees and force others to leave the public service and that current and former diversity initiatives aren’t solving the problem. The FBEC called on the government to collect disaggregated data on the experiences of the Black public servant and noted that the currently visible minority category masks the representation, recruitment and advancement challenges of Black people. The collection and analysis of disaggregated data have also been made by Liberal MP Greg Fergus, the Canadian caucus of Black Parliamentarians’ chair.

Where is the political will for real change?

In a missed opportunity, in November of 2020, the government passed amendments to the Employment Equity Regulations under the EEA and introduced new pay transparency requirements that came into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. Had there been a prioritization of anti-Black systemic racism and its painful impact on the Canadian Black populations, indeed, the government could have enacted the above recommendations.

As former senator Donald Oliver outlined, the legislation can be amended in two weeks, should the government so wills. As such, the minister of labour is encouraged to consider the Canadian Black population as a separate and distinct group within the EEA and take immediate steps to collect disaggregated data along racial and intersectional identities to understand African Canadians’ experiences in the labour market and associated human rights concerns. Future amendments to the Act should also include a robust accountability model akin to the Canadian Official Languages Act. Under OLA the duty of each federal institution to take positive measures is enforceable. This means that the public and the commissioner of official languages may seek court remedies if they feel that the duty under Part VII of the act has not been met.

Profound demands for justice have been enlisted following the tragic murder of George Floyd, which sparks international demands for justice, and equality including in Canada. This will continue until measurable progress is achieved and history shall keep recording. With COVID-19’s devastating impact on Black Canadians, their families, children, and communities, the time to act and take measurable action is now.

Huda Mukbil is a national security expert and a former senior intelligence officer with Canadian Intelligence Service (CSIS).

Source: https://hilltimes.us10.list-manage.com/track/click?u=a90bfb63c26a30f02131a677b&id=64bcc7c44b&e=685e94e554

York school board releases its strategy to combat anti-Black racism and end a culture of low expectations and ‘throwaway kids’

Will be interesting to assess the impact on student outcomes in a number of years and what measures were particularly effective:

It’s the stories. It’s the stories that sit within, and heave out come time to seek justice, that make a difference. 

Stories that have been discounted for centuries, but have become unignorable since decades of data — statistical, academic and visual — have rapidly piled up. Today only the most wilfully ignorant would deny the existence of deeply rooted anti-Black racism — itself a term coined by Ryerson social work professor Akua Benjamin.

It’s those stories, the experiences of Black families in the school system, that sit at the root of a report by the York Region District School Board (YRDSB) being released Monday.

The two-part Dismantling Anti-Black Racism Strategy is a five-year strategic plan built in collaboration with staff, parents, trustees, community organization and students. In all, about 800 people contributed to the creation of the strategy, which the YRDSB calls the first of its kind by a Canadian school board.

While many boards have equity plans and activities on anti-Black racism,“the power of this (strategy) is making sure there’s some coherence to those activities,” said Tana Turner, an adjunct professor in the faculty of education at York University, who authored it. It builds on the board’s existing equity plans and spells out priorities, action items and an accountability framework.

That last point is urgent. It is also where community skepticism resides. It’s easy for leaders to sign on to anti-racist ideas. The racist barriers are usually erected when it comes to carrying them out. No surprise, then, that everyone who was involved in the creation of this report cited bold leadership as the No. 1 step to accountability. 

“The leadership has to be truly on board, understand what’s at stake and has to lead by example,” said Claudette Rutherford, a parent and teacher at the board. “Are you championing for racial justice when nobody is looking?” 

Two years ago, Rutherford put out an email to parents of Black children, saying, “If you’re worried about your kids in this system, let’s talk.” It was an emotional meeting. They had their own stories, they heard others’.

A desire to take the discussions beyond venting led to her co-founding Parents of Black Children (PoBC) with Charline Grant and Kearie Daniel, both known firebrands. They found strong, talented teachers — Black and non-Black — who said they were too afraid to put their names as board members, that they worried about the repercussions for their careers. 

“I understand it, no judgment,” Rutherford said. But it made the co-founders wonder: “Who is going to put themselves on the line for our children? Nobody but the mothers, right? It sits deep within me.” 

Turner said this lack of safety for anti-racist teachers is true across school boards. In her decades of doing equity and census audits in Ontario school boards and public sector organizations, she found, “In a lot of these boards, it’s safer to be racist than to be anti-racist. You can lose your job for sticking up for Black children.”

In school, teachers are the most important contributors to student achievement. But what to do if they themselves are biased or racially illiterate? When studies show they are more likely to read Black faces as angry even when they’re not, Black boys’ misbehaviours as more hostile than those of white boys, Black girls as less innocent and more adult-like than their white peers? 

Parents echoed what has been said in other boards. “Teachers look through Black students,” is one quote in the report. They said their children were seen as “throwaway kids” not worthy of being taught. 

When one of Rutherford’s children had applied for an academic course, she received an email from staff at the new school (who had never met him) saying they were worried he couldn’t manage. “I had to get his white principal to write a note on my behalf.”

Consultants heard Black children were called the N-word as early as in Grade 1, or slaves by classmates because their teachers had singularly focused on slavery during Black History Month while ignoring contributions of Black Canadians. 

Equally troublesome was that teachers and principals often treated these situations as interpersonal conflicts, holding both children culpable if the Black child responded verbally or physically. 

This is why one of the action plans is for the board to increase the racial literacy of all staff and students, create a protocol to help them identify racist and other inappropriate acts, and guide them with steps that students, parents and staff can take to have them addressed. “We need to equip teachers and make a difference in those classrooms,” Turner said. 

The Parents of Black Children group is separately collecting these experiences from staff, which Rutherford says will be analyzed by a volunteer researcher. 

At the board, a major part of the accountability process is bringing community eyes on the process, with plans to give the steering committee regular updates on how the strategy is being implemented. Strategies are to be adjusted based on their feedback and response to data being collected.

“What was excellent about this whole process is you had various Black community members and organizations working together, speaking about the problems and wanting to be part of the solution, to be part of the change,” said Elizabeth Turner, York school board trustee and one of the 22 working-group members who helped develop the strategy.

“This framework is designed to hold the YRDSB accountable not only for implementing the actions … but also for creating better outcomes for Black students,” the report says.

These include better academic outcomes and greater well-being of Black students in learning environments that not only protect them from the trauma of anti-Black racism but also affirm their identities. 

“The issue of Black underachievement is the most pervasive and unacknowledged in the education system,” said Cecil Roach, a superintendent of equity at the board. “You can’t have 50 years of Black kids not graduating at the same level as everyone else.”

The trouble is how to convince the naysayers? Naysayers are often not people who say anti-Black racism doesn’t exist. They’re ones who look at the disparities of student outcomes and blame Black students and their families for it. Up to a point, this can be blamed on racial illiteracy. Beyond that it’s about racist attitudes towards Black people. 

“If you don’t understand the system, you’re blaming the marginalized people for their marginalization,” Turner said. “These teachers haven’t been taught. They don’t know.”

Roach, too, insists on optimism on that score. “Teachers want to do well by kids as long as we give the proper intervention.”

Not that he has a choice. Other than hoping interventions move people to see the light, what hope of change can anyone have? 

Consultations with the York school community showed that even cheerful events can deepen Black students’ isolation. On Crazy Hair Day, for instance, “It’s white kids putting their hair in braids, using baubles Black kids put in their hair … and you’re calling them crazy?” Turner said. Or the only Black kid in class gets left out on Twin Day.

In addition there is the well-known fact of criminalization of children, the so-called school-to-prison pipeline. “For many students, school discipline can lead to their first contact with the criminal justice system,” the report reads. Kids who drop out are eight times more likely to be incarcerated than a youth who has graduated from high school. 

Rutherford remembers once receiving sensitive information about a Black family going through a transition after the father lost his job. Another educator heard the same story and called in Children’s Aid. Why?

Rutherford sees other supports that could have been put in place. Maybe the school could have called the father and offered to get housing. “What is it about Black families that makes you want to penalize rather than support?” she asked. 

If he had to choose just one outcome, Roach would want to see Black graduation rates shoot up. “I want to see Black kids at age 16 have 16 credits.” But that’s not a goal that can operate in isolation, he said. 

“We already know what to do. The question is do we want to do it? It’s one thing to accept the disparity is there. It’s another thing to care about it.”

It’s a given that supporting the most marginalized students supports all students. 

“Ultimately we want an education where our kids flourish,” Rutherford said. “We want our children to feel nurtured and welcome and deserving of safe educational spaces. We don’t want more than what other parents want. Our children deserve that.”

Source: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/star-columnists/2021/03/08/york-school-board-releases-its-strategy-to-combat-anti-black-racism-and-end-a-culture-of-low-expectations-and-throwaway-kids.html

Confronting racial bias in government funding

Hard to balance these calls for greater flexibility and unrestricted funding with long-standing government accountability requirements:

The federal government has proclaimed itself committed to the pursuit of diversity, equity and inclusion. The 2020 Treasury Board directive calls for an “equitable, diverse and inclusive workplace where no person is denied employment opportunities or benefits for reasons unrelated to ability or job requirements.” The federal budgeting process is supposed to use GBA+ analysis in decision-making. And yet, the government continues to ignore the entanglement of race in the organizations they fund. This has only served to disadvantage Black-focused, Black-led, and Black-serving (B3’s) organizations.

Recently, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), launched the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative (SBCCI) – a capacity-building funding program. B3’s from all regions of Canada, outside of Quebec, submitted applications in the desperate hope of securing funding. You see, the funding apparatus in Canada, including the philanthropic sector, leaves Black-led organizations and groups that serve primarily Black communities without support to operate at their full potential. A recent report by the Foundation for Black Communities outlined the “miniscule” amount of funding provided to B3s, and how that funding is “sporadic, unsustained, and does not invest in the long-term capabilities of Black community organizations.”

And so when an initiative emerges that lays claim to building the capacity of B3’s, there is a collective hallelujah throughout Black communities. However, for many applicants to the new ESDC funding program, shouts of hallelujah quickly turned into groans of frustration. Organizations such as Black Lives Matter, the Somali Center for Family Services in Ottawa, and Operation Black Vote Canada, disclosed through various media channels that they received emails from ESDC rejecting their applications for funding because “information provided…was insufficient to clearly demonstrate that the organization is led and governed by people who self-identify as Black.”

The grant application required all applicants to “describe the extent your organization is Black-led, serving or focused.” The aforementioned organizations and others easily satisfy this criterion (by a glance at their websites) – Black leadership and service to Black communities are at the core of their being.

Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen responded to the outcry stating that the initial communication sent to organizations like Operation Black Vote Canada was “completely unacceptable” and that his department “has implemented new measures” (details not publicly shared) to ensure such a “mistake” does not reoccur.

Was this a mistake? We will probably never know. What B3’s know with certitude is that when it comes to securing financial support from the government or other funding sources, it’s a vicious cycle. The organizations that tend to get funded are organizations that can demonstrate capacity and effectiveness. But how do organizations increase capacity in the first place? Of the millions of federal dollars in grant money we hear about in the news that are dispersed every year, only a small percentage reach Black communities and B3’s. The federal government should consider this a consequential failure on its part.

Black-focused, Black-led, and Black-serving organizations’ struggle has not been due to a lack of quality programming, ability, innovation, or dedication. They struggle due to a lack of funding and access to resources – funding to increase and strengthen their capacity and unrestricted dollars to operate at their full potential. (Unrestricted funding is not tied to any particular project or initiative, and can be used at the organization’s discretion.) The clientele served by B3’s is the constituency most impacted by injustice, and that regularly navigates multiple systems of oppression.

Further, leaders of B3’s have smaller budgets to work with compared to their white counterparts. Leading these organizations is not merely a job. It is their community. It is their life. And yet, the work they champion remains unfunded and under-resourced.  This leaves the issues and neighbourhoods they advocate for lingering in a perpetual state of community disadvantage.

For many B3’s, their experience with the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiativehas only exacerbated racial inequities and highlighted, yet again, the need for frank conversations about race and funding access.

There are four measurable steps the federal government can take now, to remove the barriers to equitable funding:

  • Explicitly acknowledge that broad change cannot happen without comprehending the reality that the grant-making process still operates in a system of inequity, making the journey to acquiring funding difficult to traverse for B3’s. Things that are not acknowledged remain unchanged.
  • Consult, engage, and convene B3’s in the design of funding programs and disbursement of funding dollars. This ensures an explicit eye toward inclusion and equity.
  • Design funding programs that take into account and provide financial support (e.g. seed funding) to B3’s at distinctly different points in their development.
  • Support B3’s with multi-year, unrestricted funding. This would provide an infusion of resources that would enable B3’s to address the needs prevalent in Black communities in a transformative way; increase organizational capacity and sustainability; and foster transparency and accountability between the government and organizations. This approach also prevents B3’s from being trapped in the annual application cycle.

Federal grant funding access and success are deeply entangled with inequities – stifling the success of B3’s and their ability to drive social change in the communities they serve. Black-focused, Black-led, and Black-serving organizations know that racial disparities matter. The mistakes made in the management of the SBCCI have elevated awareness. This must now lead to deliberate action.

Source: Confronting racial bias in government funding

Ottawa should require banks to share race-related data on services: business groups

Of note (expect banks are doing some of this already internally as part of understanding their client and potential client base):

Canadian banks should have to disclose data related to race, gender, income and neighbourhoods to ensure more equitable access to credit and loans, say organizations representing racialized and Indigenous business owners who want Ottawa to step in.

Nadine Spencer, president of Black Business and Professional Association, says Black business owners grapple with microaggressions, unconscious bias and discrimination in banking, and both tracking and releasing this data would help hold banks accountable.

“In order for us to move along, we have to look at the data, look at the gaps and address the issues,” she said.

Banks in the United States have had to keep track of applicants for business loans by race, gender, income and neighbourhood for more than 40 years through their obligations under the Community Reinvestment Act. Designed as a way to encourage banks to better serve lower-income neighbourhoods and racialized communities, it involves the U.S. Federal Reserve and other banking regulators evaluating their performance on this front, with ratings published in an online database.

Duff Conacher, co-founder of Democracy Watch, said the federal government should require something similar of banks in Canada as a way to fight systemic racism.

“Four of our six big Canadian banks own U.S. banks and have, for decades, followed the U.S. law in the U.S. but they have not done anything up here to track and disclose discrimination,” said Conacher.

He was referring to Bank of Montreal, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce the Royal Bank, and Toronto-Dominion Bank, which all own U.S.-based operations.

Herbert Schuetze, an economics professor at the University of Victoria, said disclosing such data would encourage more researchers to look at whether businesses owned by racialized people are getting the same access to credit and other services. He said U.S. studies have shown a discrepancy, but that research cannot easily be done in Canada.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see that (here) but it’s something that, without data, we can’t identify how big of an issue it is in Canada,” he said.

The government announced up to $221 million for Black entrepreneurs in partnership with several Canadian financial institutions in September, but Conacher said this program is not enough to address the gap in funding for Black-owned businesses.

A spokeswoman for Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said the Liberal government is open to adopting other measures, although did not commit to this one.

“The federal government is currently undertaking pre-budget consultations. We invite all Canadians to share their ideas and priorities,” said press secretary Katherine Cuplinskas.

“We absolutely know there is much more work to be done.”

RBC spokesman André Roberts said the bank does not collect information on race or gender when clients access services, noting the bank is participating in the Black entrepreneurship program.

Bank of Montreal spokesperson Jeff Roma did not say whether BMO would support the disclosure of data but said it is also participating in the federal Black entrepreneurship program. TD Bank and did not say whether it would back sharing data and CIBC did not respond to a request for comment.

“The banks are already collecting this data on all their borrowers, and can easily add one box on the form saying: do you want to identify as a visible minority?” Conacher said.

Vivian Kaye, who owns an online business selling hair extensions to Black women, said she has faced discrimination from her bank since she started eight years ago.

She said her bank’s agents repeatedly questioned money transfers she made and never offered her a line of credit, even though they could see her business had been growing.

Caroline Shenaz Hossein, a professor of business and society at York University, said disaggregating the data would show who gets access to banking services in Canada — and who does not.

She said many Black people, including herself, have turned to online banking, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, to avoid dealing with racism at bank branches.

“I hated the humiliation of going in to a bank, and them watching me up and down like I am some sort of like terrorist’s drug mule, because I’m of Black-Caribbean descent,” she said.

“We already know about systemic racism and it does exist. We do not need data to tell us that part. We want to know who actually gets the loans.”

She said also said minority communities often create alternative sources of funding.

“Chinatown and (Gerrard India Bazaar, in Toronto) have all been built on these informal collectives or co-operative groups that are really rooted in mutual aid,” she said.

Shannin Metatawabin, the CEO of the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association, which provides alternative funding for Indigenous businesses, said publishing data from the banks would allow organizations like his to create new products or advocate for better services.

“Historically, Black, Indigenous, people of colour have always been an afterthought,” he said. “The response to the needs of our community has always been after the mainstream population.”

He said policy-makers should change that, noting that banks are federally regulated.

“It’s integral for them to get involved to make sure that everybody receives equitable service,” he said.

Jason Rasevych, president of the Anishnawbe Business Professional Association, which supports Indigenous businesses in northern Ontario, said accessing race-based data would guarantee transparency and could prompt banks to make changes.

“It also puts the financial institutions in a position to explore a potential refresh (of their policies) and strategies related to Indigenous relations, or Black or people of colour relations.”

Schuetze, the University of Victoria professor, said creating a ratings system for financial institutions to encourage them to provide loans to minority-owned businesses, like the one in the U.S., would have a positive impact.

He said other policies could also help, including tackling discrimination in the labour market, reducing barriers to operating businesses and getting experience and providing startup grants for minority-owned businesses.

“If you can reduce those barriers then, obviously, access to capital from financial institutions will increase,” Schuetze said.

Spencer said governments and financial institutions should talk to business owners and ask them what they need.

“The No. 1 thing that the financial institutions can do is to look at each customer and client as a contributor to their revenue base and respect them in a way that they should,” she said.

Source: Ottawa should require banks to share race-related data on services: business groups

Before COVID-19, inequity in healthcare was, in effect, a pandemic for Black communities. Here are five issues that need to be addressed

Of note. Good list of issues:

Toronto has a new, $6.8-million plan to fight the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the Black community. But the roots of health inequity were taking hold long before the pandemic started.

“These are conversations we have been having. We’ve been advocating, we’ve been speaking about it,” said Lydia-Joi Marshall, president of the Black Health Alliance. “This is not a new crisis for the Black community …. This is just highlighting the inequities that have been happening all along.”

Marshall, who has worked in healthcare research for more than 15 years and was a speaker at this month’s TEDxToronto: Uncharted, spoke with the Star to explain five long-standing issues that have made the healthcare system unequal for the Black community. Many of these still need to be addressed.

It’s not biology, it’s racism: As a geneticist, Marshall said she does not believe in race as a biological construct. “Race is not the determinant of health. Racism is,” she said.

“We often hear all these higher rates of illness in Black people — Black people have higher hypertension and diabetes,” and we can see that and think there must be a “very specific biological reason,” Marshall said. But, really, it’s more to do with systemic barriers that make these illnesses more likely, such as disproportionate stress and lack of access to nutritious food. “What are the other social determinants?” she said.

For instance, a 2019 study by FoodShare and the University of Toronto showed that Black Canadians are twice as likely as white Canadians to be food insecure. Without access to affordable, healthy food, health problems can fester.

“This idea that it is biological, we have to come away from that, because it allows people to dismiss the systemic and institutionalized racism of why we’re seeing such different rates.”

Microaggressions take a toll on physical health: Dealing with small, daily instances of racism can overtime lead to poorer health outcomes. “It takes a toll on our health,” Marshall said.

A study conducted by Harvard University and NPR in 2017 found that people who reported high numbers of daily indignities, such as receiving poor service in a restaurant or being treated with less courtesy than others, also ranked high in developing heart disease, or, in the case of pregnant women, ranked high in giving birth to babies of a lower weight.

“This stress, whether it is daily stress or overt … can result in illness,” Marshall said.

Mental health and wellness has a ripple effect: Marshall notes that mental health can affect other branches of health, and yet have so far not received as much attention.

Much of Marshall’s research relates to other clinical and chronic illnesses, but rates of under-diagnosed or misdiagnosed mental illness in the Black community, have “shocked” her, when she has looked at them.

Black respondents ranked the lowest in a December 2020 mental health surveyconducted by Morneau Shepell.

Barriers to mental healthcare for the Black community must be reduced, and a better understanding at the point of diagnosis developed, so the rates of under- and misdiagnosis are addressed.

Bias affects quality of care: Marshall recalls a time when her aunt called Telehealth to assess her symptoms when she was feeling ill. The questions went: “Are you healthy? Does your skin look pink?” Marshall said.

“I had to explain to her that this is just the ingrained bias — that here in Canada, the normal is not us.”

Apart from small instances such as this, the phenomenon also manifests in textbooks that are used in medical schools, hospital visits and is a hardship shared by Indigenous communities.

Mistrust of the system lingers: As concerns about hesitancy around taking the vaccine get more attention in public policy, it’s worth really considering the questions Black communities have and the source of their concerns, Marshall says.

Mistreatment has been both on a large scale historically — as with the Tuskegee study in the U.S. and nutrition experiments in the Indigenous community in Canada — but also on a smaller scale in the form of personal trips to the hospital.

Many are “asking valid questions, because of a historical pattern of the system not catering to our needs,” she said.

“Why would we trust a system that has not been built for us?”

This approach can inform the way Canada addresses vaccine concerns in the Black community.

Source: Before COVID-19, inequity in healthcare was, in effect, a pandemic for Black communities. Here are five issues that need to be addressed

Rejection letter ESDC sent to Black organizations ‘completely unacceptable’: Hussen

Oops!

Several Black organizations were denied federal funding through a program designed to help such groups build capacity — after Employment and Social Development Canada told them their leadership was not sufficiently Black.

Velma Morgan, the chair of Operation Black Vote, said her group received an email from the department on Tuesday saying their application did not show “the organization is led and governed by people who self-identify as Black.”

The department sent a second email the next day, saying their applications were not approved because it did not receive “the information required to move forward,” she said.

“As if we’re incompetent or foolish and we’re going to believe the second email over the original email,” Morgan said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

She said Operation Black Vote, a not-for-profit, multi-partisan organization that aims to get more Black people elected at all levels of government, is one of at least five Black organizations that were not approved for funding.

The program, called the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative, provides funding to Canadian Black-led non-profit and charitable organizations to help them build capacity. The applications guidelines say at least two-thirds of the leadership and the governance structure must be people who self-identify as Black. The mandate of the organization must also be focused on serving Black communities.

Morgan said everyone on her team is Black. She also said the other organizations she knows about should also not have been rejected for the reason outlined in the first letter.

“If you’re from the Black community, you know that they’re Black-run and Black-focused,” she said.

Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen said the initial letter his department sent to unsuccessful applicants was “completely unacceptable” and that he demanded a retraction as soon as he saw it.

In a thread on Twitter Thursday night, Hussen said he discussed with his department’s officials how such a mistake could have happened and implemented measures to make sure it does not happen again.

“I will continue to work with Black Canadian organizations to improve our systems,” said Hussen, who also mentioned the systemic barriers he has faced as Black person.

The department has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Morgan said the Liberal government should hire more Black people to sit at every decision-making table.

“This is an example of what happens when we don’t have representation,” Morgan said.

The Ontario Black History Society, a registered charity dedicated to study, preservation and promotion of Black history and heritage, is one of the groups that received both letters and had its application rejected. In an emailed statement, the organization said ESDC did not provide any reasons for why they were declined outside the two letters.

Former MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes, who left the Liberal caucus several months before the 2019 election to sit as an Independent, said many of the organizations she knows did not receive funding do not want to say anything publicly. She said they are worried speaking out will lead to the government denying them other funding chances.

“Why should these organizations be afraid of trying to speak up when something goes wrong?” said Caesar-Chavannes, who posted copies of the ESDC letters to Twitter after receiving them from the organizations that had received them.

“That’s the problem with how the government operates.”

Morgan said the letter also came after months of waiting, as her organization applied to get support to purchase equipment and retrofit its facilities in June. She said organizations were told they would get an answer in September but did not hear back until this week when they received the first letter.

“We hardly get any money from the government at all,” she said, while adding the rejection will not affect her group’s ability to operate.

“There are organizations that work with the most vulnerable in our community in terms of mental health or poverty, and those are the kinds of organizations that need the capacity funding.”

Caesar-Chavannes said that the number of organizations that contacted her has grown since she posted about the issue on Twitter.

“It’s dehumanizing that we have to keep proving (our Blackness.) How many different hurdles that we have to jump through?” she said.

Source: Rejection letter ESDC sent to Black organizations ‘completely unacceptable’: Hussen

Black Conservatives seek to mobilize more support in wake of Leslyn Lewis’ success

To watchÈ

Black Conservatives energized by the rising star of Leslyn Lewis hope to use her unexpectedly robust leadership bid to bolster Black representation in the party’s ranks.

The relaunch of one formal group of Black Conservatives and the ramped-up efforts of another come as the Conservative Party of Canada faces pressure to more firmly denounce those within its ranks who display, or even appear to display, extreme right-wing positions similar to those on full and deadly view during the riots in Washington, D.C.

Party leader Erin O’Toole’s promise to get more “Canadians to see a Conservative when they look in the mirror” requires acknowledging the party falters when talking about race, said Akolisa Ufodike, the national chair of the Association of Black Conservatives, a group that formed last year.

“High level, he’s saying that we need to be seen as a more inclusive party so how does he get there without confronting the issue?” he said.

Ufodike said one reason his group formed is to highlight what he sees as a long and proud history of inclusivity by the movement, which he said is a message some within the Black community might be more open to hearing when it comes from Black Conservatives themselves.

The group ignited a firestorm during the leadership race last year, when Lewis was making history by becoming the first Black woman to run for leadership of the party.

Despite entering as a relative unknown, she saw her campaign steadily increase in support thanks in no small part to the throngs of social conservatives attracted to her positions on topics they hold dear.

But her candidacy also suggested to many the party wasn’t entirely the bastion of what former prime minister Stephen Harper once infamously referred to as “old stock Canadians.”

The association, however, endorsed O’Toole instead of Lewis. That led to Lewis publicly slamming the group, a heated conversation between her campaign and O’Toole’s campaign and a decision by his team to decline the endorsement.

Ufodike said to have endorsed Lewis solely because she was Black would be reducing the issue to identity politics.

“We look more at how their policies, their readiness and ability to lead can best serve Canadians, including marginalized communities such as the Black community,” he said.

Lewis ultimately finished third in the race, though in certain regions of the country she had more support at one point than either O’Toole or party stalwart Peter MacKay.

Among her efforts to remain in political life, which includes running in the next election in a safe Ontario seat, was work to revive a group she helped form in 2009: the Conservative Black Congress.

Its chair, Tunde Obasan, denied the group was set up solely in response to leadership race politics.

“Our main focus is to support candidates, even if they are not front-runners,” he said.

” … The more we do that, and the more we get candidates who are from the Black community, the more people who are not currently fine with the party, the more they begin to see the party as for everyone.”

At its formal relaunch Jan. 24, the group plans to unveil a parliamentary internship program named after retired senator Donald Oliver, the first Black Canadian man appointed to the Senate.

The Association of Black Conservatives, meanwhile, has been busy setting up provincial chapters to also support community and civic participation at the local levels.

It is not uncommon, both groups said, to find themselves forced to answer for the Conservatives’ past perceived sins and its more contemporary ones.

Among them, the “barbaric cultural practices” tip line the Harper Conservatives proposed in the 2015 election campaign, O’Toole’s refusal to acknowledge the existence of systemic racism during the leadership race, and those who leap at any chance to infer the same vein of intolerance running through the U.S. Republicans also runs through Canadian conservatives.

Recently, O’Toole’s office engaged with right-wing organization Rebel Media, sending answers via email in O’Toole’s name. Many Conservatives cut ties with the organization several years ago after inflammatory and derogatory comments by its staff.

Among its more recent reporting has been the repetition of the discredited claims the U.S. election was stolen from the Republicans, claims that led to the deadly riots in D.C.

O’Toole’s office said this week he won’t speak to Rebel Media in the future.

The strength of the party’s right wing is likely to become evident at the upcoming March policy convention. Conservative MP Derek Sloan, who finished the leadership race in fourth place, was actively encouraging his own social conservative supporters to turn out in large force to have a role in the debate.

For now, neither Black organization has committed to getting formally involved at the convention, despite it being a potential avenue to influence policy decisions or the nuts and bolts of the party’s operations.

Both groups said they are looking for direct and clear leadership from O’Toole on putting his promise of making the party more inclusive into practice.

“What I would like to see him do is to be deliberate about it, on how to support more participation from the racialized community, not only in the Black community, from the entire racialized community,” said Obasan.

“That will go a long way.”

Source: Black Conservatives seek to mobilize more support in wake of Leslyn Lewis’ success

Association of Justice Counsel files grievance against Canadian Human Rights Commission, amid ongoing complaints of racism, discrimination

Of note and to watch:

The Association of Justice Counsel filed a grievance against the Canadian Human Rights Commission last week on behalf of its Black and racialized members, and, according to a number of sources with information about the commission’s operations, they say there is ongoing systemic discrimination and a disproportionate dismissal of race-based complaints at the commission.

The AJC, which represents around 2,600 lawyers employed by the federal government who work for the Department of Justice, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, and provide in-house legal services to various federal agencies, tribunals and courts across the country, also includes members who are lawyers with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

The AJC says it reactivated its policy grievance on Dec. 17, which it previously filed with the Treasury Board on behalf of their Black and racialized members at the CHRC, in October, after employees raised issues of system racism with CHRC management and after CHRC Chief Commissioner Marie-Claude Landry issued a statement on June 2 in support of Black Lives Matters.

The AJC says Black and racialized employees took the CHRC chief commissioner up on her statement in support of Black Lives Matters and provided the CHRC with a list of recommended actions to address “the complaints process, practices, and operations as well as shared Black and racialized employees’ experiences,” but said the CHRC responded by conducting a “unilateral, non-inclusive investigative process.”

The policy grievance argues that a contract has been breached. Following the filing of a policy grievance and when the employer responds, the parties involved negotiate to understand if compensation is possible. The Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board administers the collective bargaining process and the adjudication of grievances and complaints for the federal public sector and parliamentary employees.

“Together, the AJC and other bargaining agents representing Black and racialized members at the CHRC, have been pressing the CHRC to revisit its plans to ensure meaningful collaboration, transparency, fairness, inclusivity, credibility and psychological health and safety in their approaches,” according to the AJC’s Dec. 17 statement. “While the AJC and other [bargaining agents] have been engaging with the CHRC over the past few months, it’s apparent that trust in management’s ability to appropriately deal with the challenges before them has been put to the test as management appears to have lost the trust of those Black and racialized employees who have come forward.”

The AJC originally filed the grievance relating to racism and systemic discrimination at the commission in October, according to David McNairn, president of the counsel.

“We asked for that policy grievance to be held in abeyance while we tried to work on this issue, and recently, we’ve decided that it’s appropriate to move ahead with that,” said Mr. McNairn in an interview with The Hill Times last week.

“That policy grievance, unless it’s resolved, it would end up going directly before the board,” said Mr. McNairn, who also said that the AJC has had discussions with the management of the CHRC and have communicated about a number of items which they believe need to be done to address the situation.

“It’s a very sad and tragic story where the Canadian institution which is entrusted with protecting Canadians from racism and discrimination is itself, apparently, a source of racism and discrimination,” said Mr. McNairn. “There cannot be a greater tragedy than that, in my view. Obviously the commission has an incredibly important leadership role in setting standards for eliminating racism and systemic discrimination and has a mandate to protect Canadians.”

“So it’s extremely difficult to understand, but we have members who are employees there who are raising these issues with us, and we obviously want to stand behind our members and bring about some sort of meaningful change,” said Mr. McNairn.

According to the AJC’s website, earlier this year, employees at the commission raised issues of systemic racism with CHRC management and sought the assistance of their unions.

“When the CHRC issued a statement in support of Black Lives Matters, Black and racialized employees took the chief commissioner up on her invitation in that statement and provided the CHRC with a list of recommended actions to address the complaints process, practices, and operations as well as shared Black and racialized employees’ experiences,” according to the AJC’s website. “The commission responded by conducting a unilateral, non-inclusive investigative processes involving outside parties without consulting employees or their bargaining agents.”

‘The CHRC needs to be reformed’

Billeh Hamud, a lawyer who has represented clients at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Divisional Court, the Federal Court of Canada, and the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, told The Hill Times that “as someone who has practiced in this area, [the CHRC] needs to be reformed.”

“Based on my experience, part of the problem with the commission’s complaint process is their application of the case law with respect to racial discrimination,” said Mr. Hamud. “The commission applies a stricter test of racial discrimination when reviewing complaints than the courts and tribunals. As a result, cases with merit are being rejected by the commission.”

“It’s always subtle,” said Mr. Hamud.

Mr. Hamud also said the current system is contrary to our adversarial system of justice in Canada and that specifically, complainants do not have direct access to a third party decision maker who has heard the evidence, the merits of the complaint and can make a decision.

“What’s happening with the commission right now is because you have people who do not understand the case law in terms of racial discrimination when it comes to employment, for example, and they’re making decisions [and] not referring it to the Tribunal when in most cases, they should,” said Mr. Hamud.

According to documents obtained by The Hill Times, which outline the complaints referred to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal by ground of discrimination from 2014 to 2020, 18 complaints were received from 2014-2017 on the grounds of race, with 56 referred between 2018-2020, for a total of 74.

Accepted complaints by grounds of discrimination from January 1, 2020 to November 11 2020, came to 261, with national/ethnic origin complaints coming in at 263.

Complaints referred to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal by grounds of discrimination between January 1, 2020, to November 11, 2020, came to 47. Complaints referred as a function of national/ethnic origin came in at 44.

The Hill Times requested an interview with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, a request which was originally granted with a scheduled discussion with Chief Commissioner Marie-Claude Landry shortly before spokesperson Véronique Robitaille informed our paper that “because of shifting circumstances around the litigation process, we are unable to provide an interview for you today.”

According to the CHRC’s statement, “more than two years ago, we began a commission-wide process of internal reflection to strengthen the commission and its processes. Like many organizations, we recognize that there is much work to do to fully achieve equality and inclusion. That is why the commission has been examining how racism may manifest itself within our organization and what steps might be needed to address it.”

“While we’re pleased that the Treasury Board Secretariat reported this year that the commission was the only public service organization of its size to meet or exceed the Government of Canada’s targets for representation of all employment equity groups, we are committed to doing even more. We recognize that the Employment Equity Act, which is the basis for the TBS evaluations, needs to be modernized, and the CHRC will continue to advocate for this,” according to Ms. Robitaille.

“We know that Indigenous, Black and other racialized people face many societal, institutional and structural barriers to equality. That is why work is underway to ensure that the views and perspectives of Indigenous, Black, and other racialized employees on barriers that may exist within the Commission are heard and addressed.”

Ms. Robitaille also told The Hill Times that regarding the commission’s complaints screening process, they have solicited advice from experts over the past year, including from racialized communities from across the country, on how we can improve our complaints processes.

“Based on this and staff feedback we are making significant changes to the complaints screening tools that we use. We have also brought in experts to train our employees and commissioners, including specialized training on handling of race complaints, and launched a project to collect disaggregated data on our race-based complaints, a key recommendation which has been put forward by staff and stakeholders,” said Ms. Robitaille. “Early indications are that these changes are having a positive impact on the treatment of race-based complaints.”

Current model of the commission as ‘gatekeeper’ of complaints should be eliminated, according to report

Former Supreme Court of Canada judge Gérard La Forest, who was appointed to the top court in January 1985 and retired in 1997, chaired a panel’s report called Promoting Equality: A New Vision in June 2000 that was tasked with reviewing the Canadian Human Rights Act, decades following its passage in 1977.

According to the Canadian Bar Association at the time, “the current model of the commission as a ‘gatekeeper’ of complaints should be eliminated.”

“Victims of discrimination should be able to pursue their complaints even if the Commission does not want to be involved. We suggest a model for individual complaints which gives less of a role to the Commission as an investigative body and more to the Tribunal as an adjudicative body. The Commission should be the first point of contact for a complainant, and the Commission should make a quick determination as to whether it wants to be involved,” according to the report.

Finally, according to the Coalition for Reform of the Ontario Human Rights Commission who were cited in the report, “the existing commission style model does not reflect this fundamental distinction between public and individual interests.”

“By forcing all individual complainants to pass through the gatekeeper, there is no opportunity to directly present evidence to a decision-maker with the power to issue an enforceable order. This model creates a system that is paternalistic, disempowering and ultimately discriminatory because the only people in Canada who are forced to go through the system are the ones who are already identified as disadvantaged,” according to the report.

Atong Ater, member of the Federal Black Employee Caucus’ (FBEC) core team, told The Hill Times that “given what we have been hearing from within the Commission, particularly over the past summer, we couldn’t necessarily, in good faith, continue to engage with them.”

Ms. Ater said they informed the commission that in September, they would be putting a pause on engagements until there was progress that adequately recognized and meaningfully addressed the concerns of their Black and other racialized employees that they were bringing forward.

The AJC’s resumption of the policy grievance comes on the heels of a proposed class-action lawsuit by 12 former and current Black federal public servants alleging that Black employees have been systematically excluded from advancement and subjected to discrimination within the government for decades.

The representative plaintiffs, who have or continue to work for a number of federal departments, are seeking $900-million in damages as well as a mandatory order to implement a Diversity and Promotional Plan for Black Public Service Employees related to the hiring and promotion of Black employees within the public service.

Source: Association of Justice Counsel files grievance against Canadian Human Rights Commission, amid ongoing complaints of racism, discrimination

RCMP Quietly Releases Race-Based Data Showing Number Of Black Employees

Now that this data is available, good to see it becoming requested. One suggestion for requesters, whether parliamentarians, journalists, academics or others: ask for data for all visible minority groups in order to have needed context for each visible minority group, as knowing whether Black public servants are over or under-represented compared to not visible minority can either overstate or understate representation issues:

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) quietly released employment statistics showing 1.5 per cent of regular members in officer roles identify themselves as Black.

The data was disclosed in a document tabled in the House of Commons last week in response to a written question submitted by NDP MP Jack Harris in October.

Harris sits on the House’s public safety committee currently studying systemic racism in policing in Canada. In an order paper question, he asked the RCMP to provide demographic details about employees and asked for statistics about staff who self-identify as Indigenous, Black or “another visible minority.”

According to the document, of the permanent, regular RCMP members, 1.6 per cent described themselves as being of “mixed origin” as of Oct. 27, 2020. Slightly more employees who self-identified as Black hold non-police officer roles.

There are two categories of non-officer roles: civilian members and public service employees. Though both are considered public service workers, the distinction between them is determined by the conditions of their employment.

Civilian members, such as psychologists and 9-1-1 dispatchers, are hired under the RCMP Act, while public service workers are hired under the Public Service Employment Act.

Approximately 19,000 police officers are employed by the RCMP, according to the national police force. As of last year, just over 3,400 people were employed as civilian employees and nearly 7,700 people as public service employees.

Among public service employees, slightly more people (1.8 per cent) identified themselves as Black. One per cent of respondents self-described as “mixed origin.”

Among civilian members, the number is lower. Less than one per cent (0.9 per cent) of civilian members self-identified as Black, and 1.2 per cent as “mixed origin.”

The disaggregated data gives new insight into the RCMP’s demographics.

Source: RCMP Quietly Releases Race-Based Data Showing Number Of Black Employees

Unfunded: Black Communities Overlooked By Canadian Philanthropy

While revealing, hard to assess given the absence of comparative data with respect to other visible minority and Indigenous groups. A missed opportunity, IMO, one that weakens their arguments and case:

The COVID-19 pandemic and contemporary anti-Black racism movements have shone further light on the systemic racism and hardships faced by Black people in Canada. The experience of Black people in Canada points to the inadequacy of public policy in addressing the concerns of Black communities. It also suggests that Canadian philanthropy has not sufficiently invested in the well-being of Black communities and Black community organizations.

This research report provides the first systematic, empirical examination of the extent to which Canadian philanthropy has responded to the unique and intersectional challenges facing Black communities. In establishing the social context and lived experience of Black community members, the report makes apparent that the needs of Black people in Canada are both specific and urgent. Despite the clear case for investment, Canadian philanthropy has largely been absent in supporting Black people in Canada. Evidence that illustrates how Canadian philanthropy has failed to meet the needs of Black people in Canada is drawn from the analysis of two sets of original data:

1) Semi-structured qualitative interviews with ten Black and non-Black philanthropic leaders from across the Canadian philanthropic sector; and 2) a review of the funding portfolios of 40 Canadian foundations.

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

Our research and analysis suggest that the Canadian philanthropic sector has failed to support the urgent and specific needs of Black communities in Canada. As the philanthropic sector stands, it lacks the tools and knowledge to support Black communities effectively. Our key findings are:

  • Both public and private foundations underfund Black-serving and Black-led community organizations. Only six of the 40 public and private foundations we reviewed funded Black-serving organizations over the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years, and only two foundations funded Black-led organizations in the same timeframe.
  • Compared to private and other public foundations, community foundations have a better record of funding Black-serving organizations, but both Black-serving and Black-led organizations remain under-funded.All but one of the community foundations we reviewed funded Black-serving organizations over the 2017
    and 2018 fiscal years, but only six funded Black-led organizations in the same timeframe. Across all community foundations we reviewed, grants to Black-serving organizations represented a meagre 0.7 percent of total grants during the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years. Grants to Black-led organizations were only 0.07 percent of total grants made in the same period.
  • The total amount of grant funding going to Black-serving and Black-led organizations is miniscule. Moreover, grant funding is sporadic, unsustained, and does not invest in the long-term capabilities of Black community organizations.
  • Philanthropic and nonprofit leaders see the need for and the potential of a Black-led philanthropic foundation. Such a foundation would allow for the self-determination of Black communities, build the capacity of Black community organizations, ensure collaboration with other foundations to share resources and networks, and challenge the current philanthropic paradigm that wields ‘power over’ people with a top-down flow of resources. They assert that inadequate data, a lack of representation of Black communities in philanthropy, and systemic barriers, including anti-Black racism, have led to a severe underfunding of Black communities in Canada. This has resulted in the philanthropic sector not understanding the needs of Black communities, nor the extent to which they are being supported by the sector.

Source: https://www.forblackcommunities.org/