Minister Gould announces members of the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative External Reference Group
November 15, 2022 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
Investing in Black communities and tackling systemic anti-Black racism head-on are important parts of building an inclusive and resilient country that leaves no one behind. Through the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative (SBCCI), the Government of Canada is taking meaningful steps to address the significant and unique challenges Black communities face in Canada by investing in Black-led and Black-serving organizations, initiatives and community spaces.
Today, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould, announced the establishment of the SBCCI External Reference Group and its newly selected members. The first cohort of the External Reference Group is made up of seven members of African descent from the not-for-profit, education, public and private sectors. The selection of the members follows a call for applications that launched in 2021.
In recognition of the diversity of Black Canadian communities, and to ensure that a wide range of perspectives are voiced, the members reflect Canada’s ethno-cultural, gender, regional and linguistic diversity. During the call for applications, the Government encouraged members of Black communities across the country, aged 18 and over, to apply. The members will serve two-year terms, with the possibility of extensions by one-year increments.
At an inaugural meeting held last week, Minister Gould and members of the External Reference Group shared their overall vision for achieving and working towards an equitable and inclusive Canada. They also discussed the group’s mandate and the work ahead to ensure that initiatives supporting Black communities meet communities’ needs and priorities. The motto “Together, Our Future Includes Us” was used by members to highlight the importance of Black Canadian communities’ voice and active involvement in the ongoing elaboration of strategies, policies and programs that affect their lives.
The External Reference Group members were chosen by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development based on their experience, leadership and expertise in working with Canada’s Black communities. The members will work in allyship to support the Minister in ensuring the meaningful implementation of the SBCCI to help build capacity within communities by providing strategic advice, expertise and insight on the emerging priorities of Black Canadians, and to support the advancement of the Government of Canada’s commitments related to the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent.
As part of Canada’s commitment to the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent, the Government of Canada is taking positive measures to help ensure that progress is being made on advancing social inclusion and fighting racism, specifically anti-Black racism. Canada’s commitments to the International Decade include promoting respect, protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of people of African descent, and encouraging a greater knowledge of and respect for the diverse heritage, culture, and contributions of these communities to society around the world.
The External Reference Group members are:
- Gervan Fearon, Ph.D. (Chair), St. Catharines, Ontario
- Addy Marken, Calgary, Alberta
- Assane Badji, Pincourt, Quebec
- Fatimat (“Toks”) Ayinla, Brampton, Ontario
- Jocelyn Stevens, Saint John, New Brunswick
- Judith Bosire, Iqaluit, Nunavut
- Dr. Pascal Balata, Montréal, Quebec
“Congratulations to the newly selected members of the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative External Reference Group, and thank you to all who took the time to apply. I look forward to working with the members of the External Reference Group as we come together to bring positive outcomes to Black communities, to address systemic inequities they face and to continue to build capacity for organizations serving Black communities across Canada.”
– Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Employment and Social Development Canada in the implementation of the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative. Our work is about the success of Black communities in Canada and the efforts of all Canadians aimed at building a more inclusive society, institutions and programs. Together, Our Future Includes Us.”
– Gervan Fearon, Chair, Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative External Reference Group
In January 2018, the Prime Minister announced that Canada officially recognized the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent. In recognition of the International Decade for People of African Descent, the Government of Canada created the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative (SBCCI). Projects funded by the SBCCI are expected to enhance the capacity and effectiveness of Black-led and Black-serving organizations.
Since 2019, over $175 million has been dedicated to the SBCCI to help organizations work better for Black Canadians. The SBCCI funding will support more than 1,300 projects to improve Black-led organizations’ workplaces and community spaces. In addition, working in collaboration with four Black-led national funder organizations—Groupe 3737, Tropicana Community Services, Black Business Initiative and Africa Centre—more than $25 million has been provided for 705 projects for Black-led grassroots organizations serving Black communities in Canada.
The selected members of the External Reference Group applied through an online call for applications process that closed on May 27, 2021.
The mandate of the External Reference Group includes:
- providing advice on promoting Black community organizations’ inclusion and removing barriers to the full participation of Black Canadians in all aspects of Canada’s economic and social life;
- providing advice on current and new issues affecting Black Canadians and their communities;
- supporting the Government of Canada’s efforts to advance the commitments related to the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent; and
- sharing knowledge and expertise in community capacity building and anti-Black racism issues in Canada.
In Budget 2022, $50 million over two years, starting in 2022–23, was provided to Employment and Social Development Canada for the SBCCI to continue empowering Black-led and Black-serving community organizations and the work they do to promote inclusiveness
As part of the SBCCI, the Government is also supporting the establishment of a national institute to advance initiatives that address issues affecting Black Canadians from a Black-led perspective.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Office of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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