By: Lex Klombies
Budget 2021 proposes to provide more funding for Black-led organizations’ workplaces and community spaces through the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative (the “Initiative”).
The Initiative is a social development partnerships program administered by Employment and Social Development Canada (“ESD Canada”). The Initiative supports capacity-building of Black-led charities and non-profit organizations so they can better serve Black Canadian communities. Its objectives are:
- To support research and give advice to leaders within a Black Canadian context
- Provide funds to improve workplaces and local spaces
- Provide funds to build a national web to help black led not for profit organizations
- Provide funds for new priorities for Black Canadians
Budget 2021 represents a significant increase in federal investment in capacity building within Black-led organizations. The prior call for proposals under the Initiative was launched May 16, 2020, and of January 2021, “over 90 projects have been approved to date, representing up to $7 million in funding” in addition to the $2.6 million in funding being provided through intermediary organizations.
In comparison, Budget 2021 is proposing to provide $100 million in funding through the Initiative.
Budget 2021 also proposes to provide $200 million to ESD Canada “to establish a new Black-led Philanthropic Endowment Fund. This fund would be led by Black Canadians and would create a sustainable source of funding, including for Black youth and social purpose organizations, and help combat anti-Black racism and improve social and economic outcomes in Black communities.”
All of the above is in addition to Budget 2021’s proposal to renew the Investment Readiness Program for $50 million over two years. 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.
 The Liberal minority government’s Budget 2021 will require backing from an opposition party. Given the presence of initiatives pharmacare and childcare, as well as previous commitments from the NDP, we expect to see the federal budget pass.
 Published by Employment and Social Development Canada in a news release on January 13, 2021. Available online: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/news/2021/01/government-of-canada-funds-over-90-projects-through-the-supporting-black-canadian-communities-initiative.html
 Applications are expected to reopen in the fall of 2021. For more information on applying for funding in 2021, see the Employment and Social Development Canada website: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/funding/supporting-black-communities.html#h2.01
 Budget 2021 was released April 19, 2021, and is available online: https://www.budget.gc.ca/2021/report-rapport/toc-tdm-en.html