Expanded funding for Black Youth Action Plan includes targeted COVID-19 supports
December 18, 2020 Children, Community and Social Services
TORONTO — The Ontario government is doubling funding for the Black Youth Action Plan by investing an additional $60 million over three years. This funding will renew existing Black Youth Action Plan programming, create a new economic empowerment programming stream and provide targeted supports to help Black families and communities recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. These additional supports are part of the 2020 Budget, Ontario's Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover.
"Our government is committed to helping Black children and youth achieve their full potential by removing systemic and structural barriers and giving them the tools for success," said Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. "Our investment in the Black Youth Action plan includes direct support to community organizations that have been affected by COVID-19, and ensures they will continue to assist Black children, youth and their families during this very difficult period of economic disruption."
The new investments in the Black Youth Action Plan build on the success of the plan and are informed by consultations with community partners led by the Premier's Council on Equality of Opportunity, chaired by the Advocate for Community Opportunities, Jamil Jivani, to:
- Sustain culturally-focussed programs that promote family well-being, strengthen pathways to school, post-secondary education and careers and reduce youth violence.
- Create a new economic empowerment stream that will provide the skills youth need to overcome social and economic barriers and achieve success, including completing their education, enhancing training and enabling them to participate in a future-oriented and talent-driven workforce.
- Provide an additional $2.25 million to help Black communities address the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19. The funding will be used to provide urgent supports to children, youth and families such as housing needs, food security, access to technology, education, income and health and mental health supports. This builds on the government's existing $1.5 million COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Black Children, Youth and Families, announced earlier this year.
"This historic investment in Black communities is the result of meaningful dialogue and collaboration with community groups, business leaders and families," said Jamil Jivani, "We thank the Premier's Council on Equality of Opportunity for leading our consultation efforts. And we look forward to building on this momentum in the New Year."
"There is no over-stating the importance of diverse participation in businesses—from a small storefront to the corporate boardroom," said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. "Our economic recovery depends on the success of our small businesses and entrepreneurs across all regions and sectors. Supporting and training young Black entrepreneurs and increasing Black participation in every aspect of the economy will build community, aid our recovery and set the path for economic growth and new opportunities."
- Black Youth Action Plan programs are delivered by over 70 community-based and culturally-focused community partners and currently support at least 10,800 Black children, youth and their families in Ottawa, Windsor and the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.
- The Premier’s Council on Equality of Opportunity was established in June to provide advice to government to help youth at risk overcome social and economic barriers and achieve success.
- In addition to the Black Youth Action Plan, Ontario funds many other programs and initiatives to support youth facing barriers, including the Youth Opportunities Fund, which this year is providing over $13 million in grants to support 43 community projects that improve outcomes for at-risk youth.
- Ontario is investing $1.6 million over two years to create a new Anti-Racism and Anti-Hate Grant program. This funding will support community-based anti-racism initiatives focusing on combating anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.