Sobeys Inc. is proud to announce Kids Help Phone as a new partner in its Family of Support: Child and Youth Mental Health Initiative ("Family of Support"). This new partnership will support two community-based mental health programs from Kids Help Phone, RiseUp and Finding Hope, to connect Black and Indigenous youth to real-time virtual counselling and crisis help. Each program provides 24/7 support for vulnerable youth, with the support of volunteer champions, counsellors and community advisors from Black and Indigenous communities. With Sobeys Inc.'s support, the RiseUp and Finding Hope programs have significant growth plans to help even more youth in Canada.

"Truly national, instantaneous mental health support is vital to address and support child and youth mental health challenges in critically underserved communities across the country," said Katherine Hay, President & CEO, Kids Help Phone. "Thank you to Sobeys Inc. for this tremendous partnership, which will strengthen our programs in areas such as crisis response, community outreach, skill development, response times and more. These improvements will drive meaningful change for Black and Indigenous youth and help shift the child and youth mental health landscape in Canada."

RiseUp, powered by Kids Help Phone in partnership with the BlackNorth initiative, is Canada's only 24/7, bilingual e-mental health support for Black youth, which addresses their unique struggles and experiences compounded by anti-Black systemic racism. The RiseUp program, in collaboration with community partners, focuses on supporting the Black community and Afro-diaspora. RiseUp facilitated 24,000 phone and text conversations with Black youth in 2021, with a goal to grow to 60,000 conversations by 2025.

Finding Hope is a national action plan focused on creating capacity for Kids Help Phone to better connect with Indigenous youth – who face some of the most difficult mental health challenges in Canada, and significant barriers to accessing services and connection. Finding Hope is led, co-created and governed by an Indigenous Advisory Council, connecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities with Indigenous volunteers and counsellors. Finding Hope's goal is to connect Indigenous youth to virtual counselling and crisis response programs one million times by 2025.

"We've partnered with Kids Help Phone for so many years and the way they stood up to support youth across Canada during the pandemic has been nothing short of amazing," said Michael Medline, President and CEO, Empire. "We have so much confidence in the integrated program that has been created in partnership with both Black and Indigenous community leaders and are proud to see this programming evolve to provide a focus on supporting early intervention for Black and Indigenous youth."

Through its Family of Support, Sobeys Inc. continues to support early intervention initiatives to support child and youth mental health at 13 children's hospitals across Canada. Sobeys Inc.'s partnership with the Sobey Foundation and Canada's Children's Hospital Foundations was the inaugural investment for Family of Support, resulting in more than $9 million raised to date for 13 children's hospital foundations across Canada. Like Kids Help Phone, Sobeys Inc. is also a proud partner of the BlackNorth initiative.

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PICKERING, ON, APRIL 22, 2022 –D&S Group & Atlantic Mas Foundation, joined by MPP for Pickering-Uxbridge, Peter Bethlenfalvy, Dr. Alvin Curling, and other guests, today announced the approval of a non-profit Long-Term Care home in Durham that will have designated spaces for the Afro-Caribbean cultural community – the first of its kind in Ontario.

“I am truly proud to be a part of this important initiative for the Afro-Caribbean community,” said Sacha Singh, President and CEO of D&S group. “We have surrounded ourselves with champions of the community to ensure we create the absolute best facility for our seniors. Our objective is to provide a beautiful living environment that anyone would be proud to call home.”

Atlantic Mas Foundation is the Licence Holder is the license holder for the project and is a well-established Caribbean cultural organization in the GTA.

“The Atlantic Mas family has supported the community for many years in various areas,” said family spokesperson Aisha Heywood. “We are excited that we now have a new and meaningful road to travel, which will benefit the elders we respect and care for so much.” 

While other culturally appropriate LTC homes exist across Ontario, up until now, there has not been one for the Afro-Caribbean community. The 128-bed home will be located in Durham Region, which has among the highest percentage of residents of Afro-Caribbean heritage in Canada.

Photo credit: Jag Gundu

“Our government has a plan to fix long-term care and a key part of that plan is building modern, safe, and comfortable homes for our seniors,” said Paul Calandra, Minister of Long-Term Care.

Today’s announcement is part of the Government of Ontario’s 6.4-billion-dollar commitment to creating more than 30,000 net new beds by 2028 and upgrading 28,000 long-term care beds across Ontario.

“I’m proud to support this project, as it will provide much needed long-term care beds to  Durham residents, while supporting our region’s vibrant Afro-Caribbean population as they age,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, MPP for Pickering-Uxbridge. “Today’s announcement speaks to our government's commitment to ensure that seniors receive the best culturally appropriate care in their own communities.”

Also supporting the project as a community champion and Special Advisor is Dr. Alvin Curling, a distinguished community leader who served as Ontario’s first Black Speaker of the House and first Black cabinet minister in addition to numerous other diplomatic and philanthropic roles.

“This significant announcement is welcomed by the Afro-Caribbean Black Community,” said Curling. “The contribution of the community to the health care sector is well documented. This project will certainly help to address the desperate long-term care need in our community.”

This project is being celebrated by many high-profile members of the community.

“A sense of community is imperative throughout our lives, but especially so in our latter years. It is wonderful to see something like this coming to fruition for our Afro-Caribbean Community,” said Jamaal Magloire, retired Canadian basketball legend, President of the Jamaal Magloire Foundation and current Raptors Assistant Head Coach and Community Ambassador. “I am proud to be part of that demographic and even prouder to see a place dedicated to ensuring the older generation feels at home.”

The licensee will be working with the Ministry of Long-term Care to build in a suitable final location, in order to meet ministry development guidelines.

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After two years, it’s time to reconnect, celebrate, and embrace diversity with the Toronto Caribbean Carnival’s (TCC) return. Celebrating the 55th Emerald Anniversary of the Parade, the Toronto Caribbean Carnival introduces a brand-new theme for the 2022 festival season - EMBRACE THE CARNIVAL IN YOU

The Toronto Caribbean Carnival invites everyone to come and experience the joy and freedom that permeates each of the Festival Events. The ethos is built on celebrating Caribbean culture through carnival arts, music, costume, dance, and cuisine. The Grand Parade is returning to Exhibition Place on July 30, 2022, with Mas Bands, Steel Pan Players, Calypsonians, and Traditional Mas artists.

An exciting lineup of band launches showcasing the new costumes for 2022 takes place across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) from April until May. Festival-goers will have the opportunity to play mas in the Toronto Caribbean Carnival with the following bands: Atlantic Mas, Costume Creations Cultural ArtsCarnival NationzEPIC CarnivalFantazia CarnivalFreedom MasSaldenah CarnivalSunlimeSugaCayneToronto RevellersTribal Carnival, and Venom.

Described as a living art form, the Toronto Caribbean Carnival showcases colorful, striking costumes and Caribbean art to reflect the past and present. The steel pan players liven up the streets with the melodies from the only instrument created in the 20th century, including Mas Bands, steel pan players, calypso artists, stick fighting, and stilt walkers. 

The Toronto Caribbean Carnival celebrates freedom, diversity, and inclusion. A tradition in which recently emancipated ex-slaves organized themselves in bands and portrayed masquerade characters. Every year, the Toronto Caribbean Carnival takes place on Emancipation Day weekend, which commemorates the abolition of slavery in the British Empire in 1834. 

As one of the largest festivals in Canada, the Toronto Caribbean Carnival brings in thousands of people worldwide, taking place over four glorious weeks for an all-out spectacle of visual and performing arts. Participants are encouraged to "free up" and enjoy themselves!

The Festival Management Committee, producers of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, have curated an exciting program of events leading up to the Grand Parade:

  • Toronto Caribbean Carnival Official Launch - July 7, 2022
  • Junior King and Queen and Junior Steelpan Showcase - July 10, 2022
  • Junior Carnival - July 16, 2022 
  • OCPA Calypso Showcase - July 24, 2022 
  • King & Queen Showcase - July 28, 2022 
  • OSA Pan Alive - July 29, 2022
  • Grand Parade - July 30, 2022
  • Carnival Flavours - July 31, 2022
  • Awards Gala - September 17, 2022

For more information on the 2022 calendar of events or participating with a Mas Band, please visit https://torontocarnival.ca/.

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City of Mississauga making historic progress in efforts to better support, include and empower Black communities

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Council received a report on Wednesday that includes close to 60 recommendations on how the City of Mississauga can further engage Black community members in the decision-making process at City Hall and ensure city programs and services are equitable and inclusive to all members of the community.

The report, “First Steps: A Community Driven Report on Making Mississauga More Equitable for Black Communities,” is based on the feedback, ideas and lived experiences shared by Black community members during six community consultations hosted by Mayor Crombie and Councillors in 2021. Over 900 community members, experts, and City staff participated in the consultations over a six-week period.

“I want to thank every single person who took part in this incredibly important process and I’m so proud that we now have a set of solid recommendations, informed and led entirely by Black Community members, that will help guide us on how to build a more inclusive and equitable city,” said Mayor Crombie. “And as the title suggests, these are just the ‘First Steps.’ We have a lot of important work ahead of us to ensure that Mississauga’s diverse communities feel included, supported, and empowered.”

The report was written by consultant Claudia McKoy, Principal of UpSurgence, who compiled the community’s feedback into the set of recommendations. The Black Caucus, a group of Black community members that advise the Mayor on issues affecting Black communities, provided significant input.

“This year-long process with the community has generated hope, trust, and excitement

for what’s to come. Moreover, we must maintain this momentum to ensure that systemic changes at the City of Mississauga continue to happen,” said Linden King, Chair of the Black Caucus. “We need to focus our efforts to eliminate inequities and recognize that it is a shared responsibility to improve better outcomes against racism, intolerance, and oppression. I look forward to next steps as the Black Caucus works with the City to implement the recommendations in the report.”

“First Steps” recommends that the City of Mississauga implement a variety of new, programs, services and initiatives, or adapt current ones, to respond to the needs of Black community members, including those that can create enhanced political inclusion and engagement, promote better health and well-being, and foster economic empowerment.

The report is part of the larger commitment that the City of Mississauga made when Council passed Resolution 207 in June 2020 to address anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, which have been identified as historic, pervasive, institutional and systemic

issues in Mississauga. A key part of this resolution was for the Mayor to lead in the creation of the Black Caucus advisory group.

“First Steps” recommends that the current Black Caucus form into a new independent organization empowered to oversee the delivery of the recommendations, working closely with the Mayor’s Office, Councillors and the City’s Senior Leadership Team “to create policies, structures, and initiatives to diminish the systemic barriers to the communal success of Black communities.”

“While some of these recommendations will be faster to implement than others, what’s important now is that we work to further empower Black community members to have a real say at the City of Mississauga. We are committed to change and committed to doing better,” added Mayor Crombie.

Mississauga City Council will vote to formally approve the “First Steps” report at the next Council meeting on April 20.

Read the report

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This past July of 2021, the Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, announced a $1-million investment over three (3) years for the revitalization of Little Jamaica. This investment will be provided to the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) by the City of Toronto and will be used to deliver programs and initiatives to support Black-owned and operated businesses within the Little Jamaica boundaries, to help in these challenging times.

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Expansion will help overcome systemic racism and break down barriers to Black entrepreneurship.

November 5, 2021, Toronto — After 39 years as Canada’s leading national Black business advocacy and support organization, the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) is expanding its leadership with a new CEO position. Nadine Spencer, who has served as the BBPA’s president since 2017, has been named by the board as acting CEO. Spencer will guide the BBPA through its continued growth of the organization’s ongoing expansions. These new projects include the launch of several new programs for business owners and increased funding towards these initiatives. The current BBPA vice president, Ross Cadastre, will succeed Spencer as president.

Businessman and BBPA founder, Denham Jolly, commented on the new role stating, “This is a wonderful moment for the organization and it has my full support. Nadine Spencer’s service has been exemplary and groundbreaking, with a track record that has added immeasurably to the BBPA. Her tenure has been marked by many victories, including great expansions in government funding, adding new projects, and making older ones like the Harry Jerome Awards even more successful.” 

Spencer will take a secondment from her current position as CEO of BrandEQ, a creative marketing agency based in Toronto and New York, in order to focus her attention on the rapid new growth the BBPA has been experiencing in the last few years.

“I am honoured that the BBPA has named me as its first CEO,” says Spencer. “In the nearly five years that I have served as an executive member with BBPA, issues of race and equality have moved to the forefront of public discourse and Black community advocacy voices have come together in unison to advance Black businesses. I am committed to working even harder with our community to build a future that is free of anti-Black racism and to help break down the barriers to the advancement of Black business owners and professionals. I’m also pleased that my colleague Ross Cadastre has accepted the position as president. We will work together to advance Black businesses during this critical post-COVID-19 recovery time and develop more outreach programs and partnerships.” 

As the BBPA’s CEO, Spencer will lead the organization’s operations, membership growth, fundraising, develop education programs, and oversee all other initiatives targeted towards the empowerment and advancement of the Black business community. 

Cadastre, the incoming president, is the founder of ITS Global, one of Canada’s fastest-growing recruiting firms. He brings a long history of business experience and success to the BBPA’s governance and his role as president. “As the leading organization supporting Black business in Canada, we see this expansion as a natural part of our evolution and a catalyst for our growth over the next 40 years,” says Cadastre. “Nadine and I have enjoyed a productive working partnership over the years and expect it to continue long into the future.” 

This year, the BBPA launched the Business Advisory and Implementation Services (BAIDS) initiative and the Black African and Caribbean Leadership Training Program (BACEL). The association was also a founding member of the Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE), which adjudicates Black business loans up to $250,000 as part of the Canadian Government’s Black Entrepreneurship Program. 

For any further information, please visit www.bbpa.org or contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA)

Founded in 1983, the BBPA is a charitable organization whose mission is to advance Canada's Black community by facilitating the delivery of programs that support business and professional excellence, higher education, and economic development. Along with workshops and programs at the BBPA Centre of Excellence, the BBPA presents the annual Harry Jerome Awards, the BBPA National Scholarships, and the National Black Business Convention (NBBPC). For more information, please visit the BBPA online at www.bbps.org, call 416-504-4097, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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(TORONTO, ON - June 16TH, 2021) - The Toronto Caribbean Carnival officially kicked off the 2021 Festival Season with two back-to-back events held on June 15th, 2021. The virtual launch included a media press conference, followed by an Instagram Live Event hosted by news journalist Brandon Gonez, along with a grand prize giveaway to win a 5-night stay for two at Stonefield Villa Resort in Saint Lucia. 

The Live Virtual broadcast received over 16,000 views with special guest appearances by Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Toronto Mayor John Tory, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson, and soca recording artist Richardo Drue. 

Brandon Gonez announced the 2021 Festival Lineup of events during the live event, including two exciting new programs, "Carnival Eats Passport Program, and a “Carnival Food Festival." The whole month of programming will begin on July 1st, concluding on Emancipation Day, Sunday, August 1st, 2021.

This year, the Toronto Caribbean Carnival celebrates its 54th anniversary since its inception in 1967. The Festival Management Committee, producers of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, have reimagined the carnival experience to showcase Caribbean artists, support the economic recovery of local Caribbean businesses, educating on the history of Emancipation, and celebrate Freedom and Diversity.  

With the Grand Parade canceled for the second year in a row amid the Covid-19 pandemic, a curated program was developed to provide festival-goers with more personalized Caribbean experiences that meet City of Toronto Guidelines. 

Each year, thousands of people from all over the world come to Toronto to experience the carnival. This Canadian staple symbolizes summer with all the events leading up to the Grand Parade, such as the King & Queen Showcase, Junior Carnival, and Pan Alive.

The "Face of the Festival" presented by Carib Beer was announced during the live broadcast by soca recording artist, Richardo Drue who crowned Lateisha Williams as the "2021 Face of the Festival" and Celena Seusahai as the "2022 Face of the Festival". Both women will play a vital role in promoting the carnival and tackling challenging issues on women’s rights, body positivity, and discrimination. 

Festival-goers can enjoy savory dishes and traditional carnival favorites by supporting local businesses with the “Carnival Eats Passport Program” from July 2ndto July 31st sponsored by Grace Foods Canada, Carib Beer and Door Dash. Participates can dine around the city to experience different Caribbean restaurants highlighted in the program by registering for a digital passport to gain rewards and prizes weekly. For more information, please visit www.torontocarnival/carnivaleats

The Toronto Caribbean Carnival will host its 1st annual “Carnival Food Festival” on July 31st and August 1st, 2021, with various Caribbean food and live entertainment. Further details will be announced on www.torontocarnival.ca in the coming weeks. 

The 2021 Toronto Caribbean Carnival is sponsored by The City of Toronto, Province of Ontario and Canada, Bell Media, CHUM 104.5, Virgin Radio 99.9, G98.7, Carib Beer, Grace Foods Canada, OLG, Door Dash, and Go Transit.

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Black Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs make important contributions to the Canadian economy, yet they continue to face systemic barriers in starting and growing their businesses.

May 31, 2021 - Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, and Greg Fergus, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, to the President of the Treasury Board and to the Minister of Digital Government and Chair of the Parliamentary Black Caucus, announced that the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund is now accepting loan applications.

The loan fund provides financing of up to $250,000 for Black business owners and entrepreneurs so they can grow their businesses and succeed now and into the future.

Eligible businesses must be majority-owned by a Black Canadian and may include start-ups and existing for-profit small businesses in Canada, including sole proprietorships, social enterprises, partnerships or co-operatives. Businesses must have a business number, a business plan, and financial statements or projects for start-ups.

For more information on the loan fund criteria, please see our frequently asked questions and reach out to F.A.C.E with questions.

APPLY HERE: https://facecoalition.com/en

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TORONTO, May 31, 2021 Shamier Anderson and Stephan James, Scarborough natives and co- founders of The Black Academy, and Insight Productions, Canada’s preeminent award show production company, today announced an exclusive three-year partnership with CBC to broadcast Canada’s first-ever award show honouring Black talent. Planned for Fall 2022, The Black Academy's award show will celebrate established and emerging Black Canadian talent across film, television, music, sports, and culture, with a live telecast on CBC TV and CBC Gem. The telecast will feature award presentations, performances, and tributes. Award categories, the submission process, and additional information will be announced at a later date.

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The Foundation for Black Communities Applauds the Significant Investment of $200 Million to Establish a new Black-led Philanthropic Endowment Fund 

April 19, 2021 (Ottawa, ON) - In her first budget as Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland, laid out the Liberal Government’s plan for a continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic and vision for rebuilding Canada’s battered economy. On page 229 of the Budget document, a significant investment of $200 Million was a key component of the Government’s committed response to the dramatic rise of anti-Black racism in Canada and its ongoing effects.

“The Foundation for Black Communities has been advocating for the Federal Government to address the systematic underfunding of vital community-based programs and services that Black Canadians rely on,” said Liban Abokor, a working group member of the Foundation for Black Communities (FFBC). He continued “ we are thrilled to see this future-making commitment that puts Black Communities squarely in the driver seat of creating our own solutions when we need them, where we need them.’

In the Budget document tabled in the House of Commons, the Government said that this budget proposes to provide $200 million in 2021-22 to Employment and Social Development 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.

“While the pandemic has disrupted the lives of all Canadians, it has disproportionately impacted Black communities, where the virus worsened and entrenched existing socioeconomic inequality,” said FFBC working group member Djaka Blais-Amare. She added “community-based programs have been the lifeline for many Black Canadians, today’s announcement in the budget will ensure that these programs and organizations can continue their important work and not worry about survival due to a lack of proper and sustainable funding.”

The news of this investment comes at a crucial moment for Canada's Black communities, as they battle with systemic anti-Black racism while also trying to recover from the pandemic's devastation.

Dr. Joseph Smith, FFBC working group member said, “because of the combined impacts of the pandemic and long-standing inequality on Black Canadians, each exacerbated by systemic anti-Black racism, this investment to support Black communities was essential.”

Looking forward, the Foundation for Black Communities, is optimistic that today’s announcement in Budget 2021, will ensure that there is a clear and stable path to building a reliable and durable source of funding for Black-led and Black serving non-profit and charitable community organizations.

“This investment will allow for the financial infrastructure to ensure Black communities have long-term, self-directed and self-sustaining resources that can be utilized despite predictable changes in public sentiment or changes in government priorities or philanthropic attitudes,” adds Rebecca Darwent, a FFBC working group member.

Quick Facts

  • Black Canadians currently make up 3.5% of the population and are projected to grow up to 5.6% by 2036 according to StatsCan.
  • Black-led, Black-serving organizations receive as little as $0.07 cents for every $100 granted by Canada’s leading philanthropic foundations.
  • The Foundation for Black Communities (FFBC) is first and only philanthropic foundation dedicated to investing in Black communities and their priorities
  • The FFBC is seeking to establish A $300 million endowment which would provide steady, long-term annual support, enable future planning and strategizing and allow for long-term change
  • The proposed endowment model would provide the financial infrastructure to create benefits for Black communities through sustained, uninterrupted support at scale.
  • FFBC has received generous contributions from Inspirit Foundation, Laidlaw Foundation, MLSE Foundation, Lawson Foundation, Calgary Foundation, Lucie and Andrè Chagnon Foundation, Montreal Foundation and many others. 

About the Foundation for Black Communities

The Foundation for Black Communities (FFBC) is Canada’s first-ever philanthropic foundation dedicated to investing directly in Black-led, Black-serving non-profit and charitable community organizations.

The FFBC is stewarded by a Working Group of Black Canadian professionals within the non-profit, charitable and philanthropic sectors with expertise in community development, grant-making, governance, program development, community engagement and research.

The Working Group made a recommendation to the Federal Government to invest $200 million dollars to seed an asset base for the creation of the Foundation for Black Communities. This funding would leverage an additional $100 million in philanthropic and private sector funding support.

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