Minister Khera wraps up her participation in the United Nations Permanent Forum on People of African Descent

News release

April 22, 2024              Geneva, Switzerland              Employment and Social Development Canada

In 2018, Canada became the first Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country to recognize the United Nations (UN) Decade for People of African Descent, as a part of the Canadian government’s commitment to taking a whole-of-government approach to combatting systemic racism.

Building upon that commitment, last week, the Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities, Kamal Khera, concluded a productive working session at the United Nations Permanent Forum on People of African Descent in Geneva. She was joined by a group of Canadians from civil society, who showcased Canada’s commitment to building a more equitable society.

Minister Khera, the Canadian delegation and members of civil society discussed the systemic barriers and the wide-ranging forms of discrimination that people of African descent face both in Canada and around the world.

In her opening remarks, Minister Khera reiterated Canada’s determination to support Black people in Canada, including over $860 million that the Government of Canada has directed under the UN Decade to deliver programs such as the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative, the Black-led Philanthropic Endowment Fund, and the Black Entrepreneurship Program.

While at the Forum, Minister Khera also made note of proposed new funding measures, announced through Budget 2024, to support Black Canadians. Specifically, the Budget proposes $8 million over 5 years, with $1.6 million ongoing, to support the expansion of Impact of Race and Culture Assessments, which allow sentencing judges to consider the disadvantages and systemic racism that contributed to racialized Canadians’ interactions with the criminal justice system. When meeting with Canadian youth attending the Forum, she highlighted the $4 million over two years, starting in 2024-25, for the Public Health Agency of Canada to continue supporting initiatives through the Mental Health of Black Canadians Fund that aims to increase health equity and address mental health and its determinants for Black Canadians. Additionally, Minister Khera emphasized Budget 2024’s proposal to provide $273.6 million over six years, starting in 2024-25, with $29.3 million ongoing, for Canada’s Action Plan on Combatting Hate.

Members of the Forum recommended that the United Nations adopt a second International Decade for People of African Descent, following the conclusion of the current Decade at the end of this year. Minister Khera signalled Canada’s intention to support the Forum’s call for a second Decade, noting that Canada’s domestic efforts in support of the Decade have already been extended through 2028.

Minister Khera also held bilateral discussions to continue collaboration on combatting systemic racism and empowering people of African Descent around the world.


“The United Nations 3rd Permanent Forum on People of African Descent was an opportunity to showcase and reaffirm our government’s steadfast commitment to combatting systemic racism both in Canada and around the world. There we were proud to demonstrate Canada’s commitment to making meaningful change by highlighting the $860 million dollars in investments our government has made since endorsing the Decade and by signaling our full support for a second Decade for People of African Descent.”

– Kamal Khera, Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities

Quick facts

  • The United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent spans from 2015 to 2024. Canada endorsed the Decade in 2018 and recently announced an extension domestically—until 2028—of the federal government’s efforts, within these frameworks, to promote equity and empower Black communities.

  • The Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative was established in recognition of the Decade. Since 2019, more than $175 million has been invested through this Initiative to celebrate, share knowledge and build capacity in Canada’s vibrant Black Canadian communities. Most recently, Budget 2023 provided an additional $25 million for 2024–2025, extending the program for an additional year and bringing the total commitment up to $200 million. 

  • In addition, in recognition of the Decade, the Government committed up to $200 million to establish the Black-led Philanthropic Endowment Fund, which is dedicated to supporting Black-led, Black-focused and Black-serving non-profit organizations and registered charities and organizations serving Black communities in Canada and related social initiatives. The Foundation for Black Communities is responsible for managing the assets of the contributed funds to create a long-term self-sustaining source of funding for Black community organizations.

  • The Government has also created the $265-million Black Entrepreneurship Program to support thousands of Black business owners and entrepreneurs across the country.

  • Since 2019, the Government of Canada has committed close to $100 million to Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy, a first in Canadian history.

  • The third session of the Permanent Forum took place from April 16 to 19, 2024, in Geneva, Switzerland. The annual meetings of the Permanent Forum alternate between Geneva and New York.The mandate of the Permanent Forum, as outlined in General Assembly resolution 75/314, is to serve as a consultative mechanism for people of African descent and other relevant stakeholders and also to serve as a platform for improving the safety and quality of life and livelihoods of people of African descent.

  • The Permanent Forum operates as an advisory body to the Human Rights Council, in line with the program of activities for the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent, and in coordination with existing United Nations mechanisms promoting action to combat racism against people of African descent.

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For media enquiries, please contact:

Laurent de Casanove   
Press Secretary   
Office of the Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities

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Employment and Social Development Canada
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