A group of business leaders announced a new partnership on Tuesday that will support the BlackNorth Initiative, a strategy that aims to combat anti-Black systemic racism in Canada’s business world.
The Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism and the Canadian Association of Urban Financial Professionals (CAUFP) will work together to support Black professionals on Bay Street and beyond, according to a press release.
"The BlackNorth Initiative and CAUFP are fully aligned regarding the critical need to begin dismantling systemic racism in corporate Canada," said Wes Hall, founder and chairman of the Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism. "Corporations must do more to create and nurture Black talent pipelines to ensure proper representation at the highest levels. This is a natural partnership in a shared mission that will lead to measurable results."
The BlackNorth Initiative calls on Canadian business leaders to commit to ending anti-Black racism, while also creating opportunities for people of colour. CAUFP is a member-based organization that connects corporations and Black communities through programs that enable economic growth and educational opportunities.
The two groups aim to work with committed companies to effectively hire more Black students for internship and co-op programs; ensure that high-level company plans include a Black talent strategy and that companies are transparent in their promotion processes; break down and publish data on racial diversity among employees; and guarantee these tactics will be applied to gender-focused initiatives, too.
"Black professionals in Canada continue to face systemic barriers when it comes to equitable access to opportunities that lead to upward mobility and fair financial compensation," Meryl Afrika, president of CAUFP, said in the press release. "These barriers not only affect the careers of these Black individuals who work for Canadian corporations but also have economic consequences in our communities."
The first BlackNorth Initiative Summit will take place on July 20 with the intent of having business leaders sign a pledge and issue a statement citing what they plan to do to address anti-Black systemic racism.
This initiative comes at a time when the world is paying more attention to the systemic injustices people of colour are forced to confront on a daily basis. Initiatives like this could work to ensure equitable opportunities in Canada’s financial sector.