Operation Black Vote Canada’s letter to the Prime Minister Regarding Cabinet

Operation Black Vote Canada (OBVC) would once again like to congratulate Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his election success, and for being afforded the opportunity to appoint a cabinet that reflects the priorities of hardworking Canadians across the country.

The Prime Minister has demonstrated a keen focus on the importance of cabinet representation. In this regard, he understands that actions speak louder than words — and his actions, particularly on gender equality, speak volumes.

While we applaud his efforts to date, we feel strongly that there are broader principles of equality that ought to be reflected around Canada’s lead decision-making table.

We now have eight elected Black MPs, with six being Liberals, as such we have written to the Prime Minister to encourage him to increase the number of Black representatives in cabinet.

Regional, language and gender representation are of critical importance to creating a government that all Canadians can be a part of — and within which all Canadians see themselves reflected. We urge the Prime Minister and his office to extend this same level of importance to racial representation as it pertains to Black Canadian communities.

We have also asked the Prime Minister and the other leaders to increase the number of Black political staff in their office and support appointments of Black Canadians in the government as a whole.

Statement from Operation Black Vote Canada on Challenges to Annamie Paul’s Leadership

Operation Black Vote Canada is disappointed and dismayed to learn that the Green Party of Canada has launched “a process that could remove Annamie Paul from leadership.”

As the first Black Canadian to ever lead a major political party, the election of Ms. Paul represented a step forward in the mission to diversify our politics, and have more Canadians represented in the institutions that represent them. Today’s developments represent a step backward in that endeavour.

Trailblazing journeys are never easy, and breaking barriers always comes at a cost. However, the experience that Ms. Paul has had to date is inexcusable, and is unlike the experiences of her federal counterparts or predecessor in the Green Party of Canada.

Operation Black Vote Canada will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds, and offers Leader Paul our unequivocal support as she continues to use her platform to be the change we want to see.

Operation Black Vote Canada Calls on Party Leaders to Increase Community Representation in Upcoming Elections

In a letter issued to leaders of all federal and provincial political parties, Operation Black Vote Canada (OBVC) is calling for the implementation of strategies to increase the meaningful participation of Black candidates in upcoming elections across the country.

“As leaders, the responsibility for setting the tone, priorities, and direction of the campaign their party will run ultimately rests with them,” said Velma Morgan, OBVC Chair. “This influence comes with both the opportunity and the obligation to ensure that the team of candidates they present to voters reflects the diversity of the communities they seek to serve.”

With a federal election potentially around the corner, and with scheduled elections in Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia in the next 12-18 months, OBVC’s letter calls for a commitment to the following principles aimed at sending more Black Canadians to legislatures across the country:

  1. Work with local electoral district associations to situate Black candidates in ridings with past records of success, or “winnable” ridings.
  2. Ensure that Black nomination candidates have equal access to lists, information, and data to further their campaigns.
  3. Ensure that nominated Black candidates receive the full support and backing of the party structure throughout the election cycle, including: fundraising support, leader engagement, and access to all relevant lists and data to increase chances for success.
What’s in Budget 2021?

What’s in Budget 2021?

In this Article

Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC)

Canada-Wide ELCC System

  • $30 billion over the next 5 years, and $8.3 billion ongoing for ELCC and Indigenous ELCC
  • A 50% reduction in average fees for regulated early learning and child care in all provinces outside of Quebec, to be delivered before or by the end of 2022
  • Minimum of $9.2 billion per year to provinces and territories for ELCC (including previous investments)
  • Average of $10 a day by 2025-26 for all regulated child care spaces in Canada
  • Ongoing annual growth in quality affordable child care spaces across the country, building on the approximately 40,000 new spaces already created through previous federal investments
  • Meaningful progress in improving and expanding before- and after-school care in order to provide more flexibility for working parents

Bilateral Agreements

  • Proceed with an asymmetrical agreement with the province of Quebec that will allow for further improvements to their system, which the people of Quebec are rightly proud of
  • In addition, the federal government will authorize the transfer of 2021-22 funding as soon as bilateral agreements are reached with the provinces and territories, enabled by a proposed statutory appropriation

Supporting Accessible Child Care Spaces

  • Provide $29.2 million over 2 years, starting in 2021-22, to Employment and Social Development Canada through the Enabling Accessibility Fund to support child care centres as they improve their physical accessibility. This funding could benefit over 400 child care centres and support improvements such as the construction of ramps and accessible doors, washrooms, and play structures

Addressing the Needs of Indigenous Families and Communities

  • Proposed investment of $2.5 billion over the next 5 years in Indigenous ELCC will include:
    • $1.4 billion over 5 years, starting in 2021-22, and $385 million ongoing, to ensure that more Indigenous families have access to high-quality programming, to improve Indigenous governance capacity and allow providers to offer more flexible and full-time hours of care, build, train and retain a skilled workforce, and create up to 3,300 new spaces
    • $515 million over 5 years, starting in 2021-22, and $112 million ongoing, to support before and after-school care for First Nations children on reserve
    • $264 million over 5 years, starting in 2022-23, and $24 million ongoing, to repair and renovate existing Indigenous ELCC centres, ensuring a safe and healthy environment for children and staff
    • $420 million over 3 years, starting in 2023-24, and $21 million ongoing, to build and maintain new centres in additional communities. The government will work with Indigenous partners to identify new infrastructure priorities

Bringing Partners Together to Build and Maintain a Canada-Wide Child Care System

  • Additional $34.5 million over 5 years, starting in 2021-22, and $3.5 million ongoing, provided to Employment and Social Development Canada to strengthen capacity within the new Federal Secretariat on ELCC:
    • creation of a new National Advisory Council
    • the government is committed to tabling federal early learning and child care legislation in fall 2021—following consultations with stakeholders, provincial, territorial, and Indigenous partners—to enshrine the principles of a Canada-wide child care system in law

Economic Empowerment of Black Canadians

Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative (SBCCI)

Black-led Philanthropic Endowment Fund to Support Social and Economic Outcomes in Black Communities

  • Funding of $200 million in 2021-22 led by Black Canadians to help combat anti-Black racism and improve social and economic outcomes in Black communities

Social Sector Stabilization and Recovery

Charitable and Non-Profit Modernization Fund

  • $400 million in 2021-22 to Employment and Social Development Canada to create a temporary Community Services Recovery Fund to help charities and non-profits adapt and modernize so they can better support the economic recovery in our communities

Accelerating the Social Finance Fund

  • Proposed disbursements of the $755 million Social Finance Fund and up to $220 million over its first 2 years. It is estimated that the Social Finance Fund could attract up to $1.5 billion in private sector capital to support the development of the social finance market, create thousands of new jobs, and drive positive social change
  • The Social Finance Fund will continue to operate on a repayable basis, but the funding instrument will be conditionally (rather than unconditionally) repayable contributions. Under accounting rules, conditionally repayable contributions are recognized as they are disbursed, such that the full cash cost is recognized upfront

Investment and Readiness Program Expansion

  • Budget 2021 proposes to renew the Investment Readiness Program for $50 million over two years, starting in 2021-22. This program supports charities, non-profits, and social purpose organizations in capacity-building activities such as business plan development, expanding products and services, skills development, and hiring

Modernizing ESDC’s Information Technology and Improving Service Delivery to Canadians

Ongoing Sustainability of Information Technology in Support of Employment and Social Development Canada Program Delivery

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide a total of $648 million on a cash basis to Employment and Social Development Canada and the Treasury Board Secretariat over the next seven years, starting in 2021-22, to continue implementing Benefit Delivery Modernization, invest in Service Canada’s IT systems and related activities, and support service delivery to Canadians going forward

Reaching All Canadians to Increase Benefit Uptake

  • $81 million – Funding proposed for Employment and Social Development Canada to continue to support both remote and in-person delivery of services and benefits to Canadians. This will support delivery of Old Age Security, the Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance

Processing Automation and Productivity Improvements in Benefits and Service Delivery

  • Proposed $43.9 million over 3 years, starting in 2021-22, for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to accelerate the ongoing work with Digital Government and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), and to develop the first phase of an e-payroll solution through the testing of prototype options for the implementation of a real-time e-payroll solution for the Government of Canada
  • A Central Agency Steering Committee co-chaired by the Privy Council Office and the Office of the Chief Information Officer (Treasury Board Secretariat) will work with the CRA and ESDC to oversee the implementation plan

Housing: New Allocations

  • Plan to invest $2.5 billion, and reallocate $1.3 billion in existing funding to speed up the construction, repair, or support of 35,000 affordable housing units. And, the government will introduce Canada’s first national tax on vacant or underused residential property owned by foreign non-residents.
    • This will help families, young people, low-income Canadians, people experiencing homelessness, and women and children fleeing violence find a safe and affordable place to call home.

Rapid Housing Initiative

  • Building on the success of the Rapid Housing Initiative and allocating another $1.5 billion to Rapid Housing projects across the country to create up to 4,500 permanent, affordable homes on top of the 4,700 already being built under this Initiative.
  • Investment in permanent homes for most vulnerable – at least 25% of this funding will go towards housing projects that focus on women and their children.
  • Units would be constructed within 12 months of when funding is provided to program applicants.

Affordable Housing Innovation

  • Invest $600 million starting in 2021-2022 to renew and expand the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund to encourage new funding models and innovative building techniques in the affordable housing sector – this new funding will support the creation of up to 12,700 more units

Canada Housing Benefit

  • $315.4 million over 7 years to increase direct financial assistance for low-income women and children fleeing violence to help with their rental payments

Federal Community Housing Initiative

  • $118.2 million over 7 years, starting in 2021-2022, through the Federal Community Housing Initiative to support community housing providers that deliver long-term housing to many of our most vulnerable

Northern Housing

  • Proposed investment of $25 million to Northwest Territories, and $25 million to Nunavut to improve access to safe and sustainable housing in the North


Reaching Home

  • $567 million over 2 years beginning in 2022 to maintain the 2021/22 funding levels announced in FES
  • COVID-19 has exacerbated many of the hardships faced by Canadians experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity. Many have had to choose between the hard cold of the streets or the risk of an outbreak in shelters
  • Since 2019, the government has launched more than 1,200 projects to support Canadians experiencing homelessness. Through the pandemic, the government has more than doubled funding for reaching home. But more work needs to be done if we are to make sure no one in Canada is without a place to call home. Given the progress that has been made, and its commitment to do more, the government is now focused on entirely eliminating chronic homelessness in Canada

New ESDC Pilot for Veterans Homelessness

  • Proposed $45 million over 2 years, beginning in 2022/23, for ESDC to pilot a program aimed at reducing veteran homelessness through the provision of rent supplements and wrap-around services for homeless veterans such as counselling, addiction treatment, and help finding a job

Support for Black Canadians outside of the Families, Children and Social Development portfolio

  • Provide $172 million over 5 years, starting in 2021-22, with $36.3 million ongoing, to Statistics Canada to implement a Disaggregated Data Action Plan that will fill data and knowledge gaps. This funding will support more representative data collection, enhance statistics on diverse populations, and support the government’s, and society’s, efforts to address systemic racism, gender gaps—including the power gaps between men and women—and bring fairness and inclusion considerations into decision making.
  • Modernize Canada’s justice system – Provide $6.7 million over 5 years, starting in 2021-22, and $1.4 million ongoing, to Justice Canada and Statistics Canada to improve the collection and use of disaggregated data. This is part of ongoing efforts to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples and racialized groups in the justice system.
  • Provide $12 million over 3 years, starting in 2021-22, to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to fund academic research into systemic barriers facing diverse groups. This research will help inform actions to address social disparities related to race, gender, and other forms of diversity.
  • Provide Public Services and Procurement Canada $87.4 million over five years starting in 2021-22, and $18.6 million ongoing. This funding will be used to modernize federal procurement and create opportunities for specific communities by diversifying the federal supplier base.
  • Specifically, Public Services and Procurement Canada would implement a program focused on procuring from Black-owned businesses.
  • Provide up to an additional $51.7 million over four years, starting in 2021-22, to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and the regional development agencies for the Black Entrepreneurship Program.
Operation Black Vote Canada Launches Fellowship Program To Develop Next Generation Of Black Public Policy-Makers

Operation Black Vote Canada Launches Fellowship Program To Develop Next Generation Of Black Public Policy-Makers

PUBLISHED IN Pride News | PUBLISHED ON January 10, 2020 


TORONTO, Ontario January 10, 2020 — Operation Black Vote Canada (OBVC) — established in 2004 as a non-profit and multi-partisan organization that supports the election of Black people to public office — has launched its inaugural 1834 Fellowship program.

Named for the year that slavery was abolished in Canada, the 1834 Fellowship will seek out 40 high-potential Black youth, between the ages of 18 and 25, for the first year of the program, to prepare them for civic leadership roles and support them in their skills and career development.

Developed by OBVC, the 1834 Fellowship is an intensive, one-year, civic leadership and public policy training program, which will be delivered, in partnership with Brock and Ryerson Universities.

“If we are to equip and prepare the next generation of young Black Canadians to take their place in our politics and government, we must start building the policymakers of tomorrow, today,” commented Velma Morgan, Chair of OBVC. “Policy matters and legislation affects our daily lives.”


‘Disappointing’ cabinet picks show Trudeau still needs to address diversity ‘blind spot’, say advocates

‘Disappointing’ cabinet picks show Trudeau still needs to address diversity ‘blind spot’, say advocates

‘Please pay attention to the blind spot that you said was created by your privilege and do something to correct it,’ Celina Caesar-Chavannes asks the prime minister.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new cabinet of 37 has seven members who are visible minorities and one Métis MP, which advocates say is not enough to address diversity concerns. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade, illustration by Serena Masonde

The latest cabinet picks were disappointing for some advocates of better representation for racialized Canadians in positions of power, including former Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes who offered a plea to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to demonstrate he is correcting an admitted blind spot.

READ MORE In The Hill Times