Coteau announces Black Youth Action plan
An Ontario Black Youth Action Plan with a four -year funding commitment of $47 million,
aimed at increasing access to supports and opportunities for Black children and youth , was announced on Tuesday by Michael Coteau, Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism.
The Action Plan is part of a broader three-year Anti-Racism Strategic Plan to combat systemic racism in the province.
“For far too long, funding in this province when it comes to our black youth is reactive and it’s time that it be responsive,” said Coteau who is also Minister of Children and Youth Services..
“I want black youth in this province to know that their lives matter. I want them to know that they matter and I want them to know that the government of Ontario and the people of Ontario care for them,” he added in releasing details of the anti-racism plan,
The anti- racism strategy will target the over-representation of black children and youth in the child welfare system, an “achievement gap” between black students and other students and a disproportionate number of black males in the justice system.
The release of the Anti-Racism Strategic Plan follows community meetings held across the province of Ontario in 2016. The government heard from people that despite efforts to promote inclusion and equity, histories of slavery and colonization and institutions of the past continue to shape the present and create a further gap between racialized people and others.
The plan includes measures to help identify and eliminate systemic racism. It is also an acknowledgement that systemic racism — including anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, islamophobia and racism experienced by other communities, including the Jewish community — is real, and can act as a barrier to achieving opportunity.
” This plan is our commitment to change how we do things. It’s our pledge to Black youth who come into contact with the law, indigenous youth who are overrepresented in children’s aid societies and other racialized communities who experience disproportionate outcomes,” said
“Ontario is on a path to positive change and better outcomes. I am dedicated to leading this work, and I look forward to shaping a stronger future for all,”, he added.
The anti-racism strategy includes:
- Developing a framework for the collection of race-based data in various institutions, including the child welfare system and the justice, education and health sectors. Collecting race-based data is a valuable way to better understand where racial inequalities exist, which will help government work toward solutions to address it.
- Implementing an anti-racism impact assessment framework to help anticipate and remove unconscious bias in proposed policies, programs and decisions.
- New legislation that would, if passed, ensure the sustainability and accountability of the province’s anti-racism work by providing a framework for government and organizations to identify and combat systemic racism.
- Public education and awareness initiatives targeting racism, including islamophobia and anti-semitism