The Trudeau Liberals allocated about $96 million in funding for black community organizations. Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen said this federal funding is the most substantive investment to black Canadians in history.
He said the new money would include $82 million to fund about 1,300 social infrastructure projects to enhance workplaces and community spaces and $14 million to help organizations build grassroots capacity.
The Trudeau Liberals launched the program two years ago, providing $25 million in funding for capacity building and infrastructure projects by black-led groups. Hussen said there was an apparent need for more resources and decided to allocate additional money.
The government announced $350 million for black entrepreneurs alongside Canadian financial institutions last September to aid their economic survival during COVID. "black Canadian entrepreneurs have told us time and again that they don't have access to capital. They don't have access to the opportunities to make tangible [their] entrepreneurial plans and strategies and dreams," said Hussen.
However, experts said the program was not enough to address the gap in funding for black-owned businesses.
The priority under this initiative is to fund black-led organizations that address racism and other issues facing these communities, reported Kamloops This Week. "We are working hard to address these systemic barriers," Hussen said. "The best way to do that is to help the Canadian organizations that have done so much for so long with so little support."
He also praised their other initiatives for black Canadians, including a law to axe many mandatory minimum sentences to tackle the overrepresentation of people of colour in prisons. Hussen indicated that Ottawa continues to develop legislation to create civilian oversight of the Canada Border Services Agency, accused of mistreating people of colour.
"The criminal justice bill, the CBSA oversight legislation law, and the other pieces of progressive legislation that we've introduced show you where we intend to go, but in a minority Parliament you depend on support from all parliamentarians," he said. "That's what Canadians expect us to do. We will continue to work to put those pieces [of legislation] forward."
He said despite the best efforts of the Trudeau Liberals, they can only do so much as a minority government. "Unfortunately for months on end, we've seen obstruction and delay from the other side," he said. They repeatedly said that Parliament is dysfunctional, a claim that opposition leaders have dismissed as the federal government has not lost a confidence vote.
Speculation continues to mount that the Trudeau Liberals will soon drop the writ as Hussen and other cabinet ministers travel the country making campaign-style announcements.