QUEEN’S PARK – Doug Ford’s announcement of a paltry $1.5 million in funding, when Black communities in Ontario are calling for systemic change to address anti-Black racism, is a slap in the face to Black communities, said Laura Mae Lindo, Chair of the Official Opposition NDP’s Black Caucus and Official Opposition Critic for Anti-Racism.
“Black communities in Ontario, and worldwide are highlighting systemic brutality and anti-Black racism – they are coming forward and demanding justice that has been deferred for far too long,” said Lindo. “Just this week, Doug Ford denied systemic racism even existed in Canada. This announcement is even more evidence that Mr. Ford doesn’t take addressing the cancer of systemic racism seriously.”
Since taking office, the Ford government has:
- Cut over $2 million in funding from the Anti-Racism Directorate and only earmarked $1,000 for anti-racism initiatives
- Took away $14 million in funding from a cultural community hub in Lawrence Heights
- Cut $25 million in education funding that was dedicated programs earmarked to provide tutors and extra supports for Black, Indigenous and racialized students
- Cancelled police oversight measures
- Cut the Priority Schools Initiative, leading to a 300 per cent spike in the cost of school gym rentals by community groups
- Cut $335 million in mental health funding
- Called the collection of race-based data of health data “not particularly relevant”
“Ford gutted and shut down the Anti-Racism Directorate, and cut down the Anti-Racism Initiatives budget line to a ludicrous $1,000,” added Lindo. “Black Ontarians, along with Indigenous and racialized Ontarians, have suffered two years of cuts, damage and disturbing denials about the existence of systemic racism, and the experiences they face.
“Communities that are hurting from years of systemic discrimination and anti-Black racism don’t need a watered down committee. We don’t need ‘advice’ on how to overcome barriers. We need change in the system to tear down those barriers, and stamp out systemic racism. We need a government that will actually fund that critical work, instead of cutting it to the bone, and then throwing us some loose change.”