Funding now available for projects commemorating No. 2 Construction Battalion

News release

12 February 2024 – Ottawa, Ontario – Veterans Affairs Canada

Overcoming racism, members of No.2 Construction Battalion made a significant contribution to Canada's First World War effort; their service must be recognized and honoured.

To increase awareness and to educate Canadians of the invaluable history of No. 2 Construction Battalion, Canada’s only all-Black battalion-sized formation, the Government of Canada is launching a call for applications through Veteran Affairs Canada’s Commemorative Partnership Program (CPP).

Organizations planning commemorative activities, developing educational materials or wishing to build or improve community war memorials that commemorate No. 2 Construction Battalion, its members, and its ongoing legacy, are encouraged to apply.

This dedicated funding addresses one of the recommendations outlined by the National Apology Advisory Committee (NAAC) by creating opportunities for education, remembrance and honouring of No. 2 Construction Battalion.


“We must pay tribute to the members of No. 2 Construction Battalion, and their families, who served our country despite the challenges and discrimination they endured. I encourage individuals and organizations to apply so that all Canadians can learn about the stories of these brave Canadians. As we mark the beginning of Black History Month, we are reminded how important it is to learn about our history, including both the adversity and significant contributions of Black Veterans to our country.”

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

“Members of the No. 2 Construction Battalion are an important part of Canada’s history. Despite facing systemic anti-Black racism at every step of the way, these brave men were determined to serve our country. Their efforts deserve to be recognized. Through Veterans Affairs Canada’s Commemorative Partnership Program, we will be able to honour their sacrifice and celebrate the legacy of the No. 2 Construction Battalion for years to come.”

The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence

“We are grateful for this dedicated funding to help honour No. 2 Construction Battalion. Through these commemorative projects, the legacy of these brave Black Men determined to serve their country despite obstacles and hardship, will never be forgotten and future generations will know all they have done for Canada.”

Russell Grosse, Executive Director of the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia and Co-Chair of the National Apology Advisory Committee

Quick facts

  • No. 2 Construction Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), also known as the Black Battalion, was created on 5 July 1916, during the First World War. It was a segregated non-combatant unit, the first and only all-Black battalion-sized formation in Canadian military history.

  • Throughout the First World War, members of No. 2 Construction Battalion faced racism. They showed resilience, determination and strength in the face of adversity. Following the end of this war, the unit was officially disbanded on 15 September 1920, without ceremony or recognition for their service or sacrifices on behalf of Canada.

  • The investment was announced in November 2023, at an event hosted by the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia, a long-standing champion of the legacy of No. 2 Construction Battalion.

  • The Commemorative Partnership Program (CPP) provides funding to organizations that honour the contributions and sacrifices of Canadian Veterans and those who died in service. It provides funding for two types of projects:

    • Community Engagement funding supports commemorative activities (e.g. events) or the development of commemorative resources (e.g. learning materials).
    • Community War Memorial funding supports the construction, restoration or expansion of a community war memorial.

Associated links


Media Relations
Veterans Affairs Canada

Isabelle Arseneau
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs

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