Sun | Dec 3, 2023

Community leaders welcome plans to address systemic barriers faced by African-Canadians

Published:Saturday | January 2, 2021 | 12:06 AM


Canada will soon have an institute dedicated to the research, understanding and the progress of African-Canadians. The proposed structure for the first-ever Canadian Institute for People of African Descent (CIPAD) was shared this month to hundreds of community leaders and members of organisations across the country via a virtual town hall.

CIPAD, when formally launched, will be a proactive, community-led endeavour, inspired, in part, by the UN declaration of the Decade for People of African Descent.

The CIPAD will produce effective and culturally appropriate policies that will help to remove the disparities and inequities faced by Canadian people of African descent. CIPAD, governed by its elders council known as the Ushauri, will use a team of experts to develop an institute to provide strategies for improving the social determinants of health factors for African-Canadians. In 2019, the Government of Canada appointed Caribbean African Canadian Social Services (CAFCAN), as the organisational lead for CIPAD’s feasibility study.

“For far too long, there has been a dearth of research and evidence to support the development and evolution of African-Canadians,” said Noah Boakye-Yiadom, co-chair of CIPAD’s Ushauri.

“CIPAD not only resolves that issue, but it will also provide culturally specific solutions tailored to serve our communities across the country.”

“We are pleased that we’ll be able to bring this initiative forward, thanks to the leadership of the Caribbean African Canadian Social Services in Toronto, the Delmore Buddy Daye Learning Institute in Halifax, as well as many other organisations across the country,” said Charles Sheppard, co-chair at CIPAD’s Ushauri, “We all have an important role to play by urging others to get on board to ensure CIPAD serves our communities for generations to come.”

Seen as a Canadian milestone, CIPAD has the support of parliamentarians, including the Canadian Black Caucus. Organisers look forward to collaborating with universities via such established chairs as Dr Jean Augustine, chair at York University’s Faculty of Education, James R. Johnston, chair at Dalhousie University, as well as research teams in Quebec that are documenting and archiving African-Canadian life. This project is funded by the Government of Canada’s Supporting Black Canadian Community Initiative.

• African-Canadians make up 3 percent of Canada’s population and 18 percent of Canadians living in poverty.

• Women of African descent account for 8.8 percent of women who have university degrees and are unemployed, compared to 5.7 percent of white women who are unemployed and have high school diplomas.

• The total economic impact of anti-Black racism from wage discrimination and occupation segregation is a loss of over $1.5 billion per year for people of African Descent in Canada.