Concerns raised over the future of the Liberal’s $47-million Black Youth Action Plan

Arlene Wallace, Philip Johnson and Sherwin Barnes

With Ontario provincial elections less than a month away, the Toronto Expose Committee (TEC) , an  organization formed to combat anti-Black racism in the workplace, has expressed concerns about the future of the provincial government’s$47-million Black Youth Action Plan.

Will a new government from another party continue the funding of the four-year  Plan established in  2017  by the Liberal government of Premier Kathleen Wynne ?

The TEC is demanding  an answer to this question from the leaders of the two other main provincial  parties –  the Conservatives and the Democrats -now on the campaign trail.

Arlene Wallace, chairman of the TEC, told the Caribbean Camera that it is imperative that “the question be  asked and clearly addressed not only for the sake of transparency but for the safety, protection and building of our youth.”

Activists in the Black  community have been outspoken on this  issue.

Philip Johnson, vice -chairman  of  the TEC, said that ” a lot of  black youth  are suffering right now”  and  Kathleen Wynne is the first premier ” to come forward  with a major program to assist them.

“Doug Ford, like his brother,  has proven that  when it comes to the most vulnerable ,  they have no concern.  So I feel that this is an extremely important election based on what has happened in the past,” he said

Sherwin Barnes, a Toronto real estate agent, noted that it took a long time for an  initiative such as the Black Youth Action Plan to come into existence, and now that it is finally here,  we know that an election can change the fortunes of so many  underserved youth.”

There are also concerns in some political circles  that after the June 7 elections  the Black community may for the first time in many years have no  representatives in the provincial legislature

The Ontario Black Youth Action Plan which  was launched last year is part of a broader three-year Anti-Racism Strategic Plan to combat systemic racism in  the province.

Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services and Community and Social Services as well as Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism, described the Youth Action Plan as ” the single largest investment dedicated to Black youth in the history of the province.”