The Federation welcomes this week’s announcement of funding to support Black entrepreneurs and small business owners. The COVID-19 pandemic has both highlighted and exacerbated existing systemic barriers faced by Black Canadians. 

On September 9, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced investments of up to nearly $221 million in partnership with Canadian financial institutions to support thousands of entrepreneurs across the country in recovering from the crisis. This program allows Black Canadians who are interested in starting or expanding a business the ability to access loans, and support for training and mentorship. 

Along with the loan program, up to $6.5 million to create a new Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub. The Hub will be run by Black-led business and community organizations, in partnership with educational institutions. We look forward to future developments about how partnerships with educational institutions will take shape. 

“This is a great step forward but we can’t get comfortable. [Tackling] anti-Black racism is more than the act of supporting Black businesses” said Azinwi Kien Saningong, Black Caucus National Executive Representative. “Anti-Black racism is embedded in our policies- the same ones that uplift racist institutions like that of policing and the educational system. Anti-Black racism in Canada is not one dimensional and we all have work to do in order to actively dismantle it,” added Kien Saningong. 

This announcement represents the first sign of any significant policies that seek to address systemic racism. In July, the Prime Minister promised to address systemic racism and that it was a priority to him and his cabinet. The Federation hopes that the federal government will continue to support Black communities across this country and looks forward to future announcements about how Black youth and students, in particular, will be supported by the government.