Black Canadians have helped make Canada the country we love. From groundbreaking trailblazers in halls of fame and history books to unsung heroes in communities across the country, Black excellence is all around us. However, as we grow and become more diverse, Canada’s painful history of anti-Black racism continues to impact Black communities, preventing many from reaching their full potential. We can – and we must – do better.
That is why, in 2018, the Government of Canada endorsed the United Nations (UN) International Decade for People of African Descent, which runs from 2015 to 2024. The UN Decade helps us build inclusive programs to empower people of African descent and advance our work to combat racism, discrimination, and xenophobia faced by people of African descent in Canada and around the world. While the UN Decade ends this year, we are reaffirming our support to Black communities.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced an extension – until 2028 – of the federal government’s efforts, within these frameworks, to promote equality and empower Black Canadians. Using the frameworks of the UN Decade, this extension will support Black Canadians and strengthen their leadership in business, social justice, and community.
We have made transformative investments to empower Black communities across the country. Since endorsing the UN Decade in 2018, we have committed up to $860 million to Black-focused initiatives – from racial justice to entrepreneurship to economic dignity. Through the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative, we have invested in more than 2,300 projects to grow charities and non-profit organizations, for Black Canadians, by Black Canadians. Last year, we selected the Foundation for Black Communities to manage the Black-led Philanthropic Endowment Fund. The Fund will provide long-term, sustainable funding to charities and non-profit organizations fighting anti-Black racism and improving social and economic well-being in predominantly Black communities. With the Black Entrepreneurship Program, we are helping thousands of Black Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs start up, scale up, and succeed.
The principles of the UN Decade continue to guide Canada in its efforts to combat anti-Black racism and remove systemic barriers for marginalized communities. We will always be there for Black Canadians and make life better, fairer, and more inclusive for everyone.
“Diversity is a fact, but inclusion is a choice. By extending our efforts under the International Decade for People of African Descent in Canada, we are reaffirming our commitment to support Black Canadians. Using the frameworks set out by the UN, we will invest in Black-led programs, advance racial justice, and ensure Black Canadians have the opportunities they deserve to reach their full potential.”
“The UN Decade has been an important roadmap to help us recognize the distinct rights, culture, and accomplishments of the more than 1.5 million people of African descent living in Canada today. But just as the contributions of the Black diaspora to this country have endured for generations, so too must our commitment extend beyond the bounds of any single decade. I remain committed to supporting recognition, justice, and development for Black communities across Canada through 2028 and in the years beyond.”
- In 2018, Canada endorsed the UN International Decade for People of African Descent, which runs from 2015 to 2024. In so doing, Canada became the first country belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to formally recognize the UN Decade.
- In 2019, Canada launched its Anti-Racism Strategy, a whole-of-government approach to combat systemic racism, including anti-Black racism, under the leadership of a new Federal Anti-Racism Secretariat. As part of the Strategy, we continue to provide resources to communities and organizations to eliminate inequities and tackle racism.
- Since 2019, more than $175 million has been invested through the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative (SBCCI) to celebrate, share knowledge, and build capacity in Canada’s vibrant Black Canadian communities. Most recently, Budget 2023 committed an additional $25 million for 2024-25, extending the program for an additional year and bringing the total commitment up to $200 million.
- Black-led community organizations have already received funding from the SBCCI to support capacity building, operational management, the purchase of equipment, and renovations.
- The Government of Canada has invested up to $265 million in the Black Entrepreneurship Program to support thousands of Black business owners and entrepreneurs across the country. The program is an important step forward in building the foundation for long-term, lasting change and making a real difference in the lives of Black entrepreneurs across the country for years to come.
- The development of Canada’s Black Justice Strategy is part of the federal government’s response to address anti-Black racism and systemic discrimination that has led to the over-representation of Black communities in the criminal justice system, including as victims of crime.
- In recognition of the UN Decade, Budget 2021 committed up to $200 million to establish the Black-led Philanthropic Endowment Fund. In March 2023, the Foundation for Black Communities (FFBC) – a national Black-led and Black-serving organization – was named to administer the Fund. The FFBC issued its first call for proposals in December 2023.
- The Government of Canada has also invested $10 million in the Mental Health of Black Canadians Fund to support the mental health of Black individuals and communities, with the aim of supporting more culturally focused knowledge, capacity, and programs that address mental health and its determinants for Black Canadians. Since 2018, the Fund has supported 23 community and Black-led projects across Canada.
- The Government of Canada honours Canadians of African descent through its annual Black History Month campaign.