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Canadian minister joins black community leaders in online meeting

By  | 12 June 2020 at 03:35 | 962 views

Ahmed Hussein, Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development recently joined a meeting of representatives of community organizations working in the interests of people of African descent in Canada.

The meeting took place online on Tuesday 9 June 2020, via Zoom video communications. It was organized by Network for the Advancement of Black Communities (NABC). Over 100 participants logged in to the meeting. Among them was Dr. Abu Conteh, president of the Edmonton-based Sierra Leone Association of Alberta (SLAA).

Amanuel Nelles, Director of NABC, hosted the hour-long session. NABC has been coordinating a series of similar virtual meetings, from Ontario. The purpose is to facilitate Black organizations’ access to federal funding recently announced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this context, NABC has been engaged in collective representations on behalf of Black-focused, Black-led, and Black-serving organizations. NABC’s stated goal is: “Supporting Black Grassroots to Access the Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) & Other Funds.”

NABC invited the minister so participants could interact with him directly. After Nelles introduced him, Minister Hussen made a statement and then fielded questions. NABC had earlier asked participants to send questions to the minister through NABC’s email address.

Minister Ahmed Hussein

Discussions centred on the topic, ‘COVID-19 Emergency Response & Recovery in Black Communities.’ Hot issues like of the impact of racial discrimination on Black organizations - and their members/workers and clients - also came up. Hussen’s parliamentary secretary Adam Vaughan was one of the other guests who also took questions on behalf of the ministry.

Regarding the federal funding, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) states: “We have invested $350 million to improve the ability of community organizations to serve vulnerable Canadians during the COVID-19 crisis. The investments will flow through national intermediaries that have the ability to get funds quickly to community organizations that serve vulnerable populations.”

Dr. Abu Conteh, SLAA President

The Canadian Red Cross, Community Foundations of Canada, and United Way Centraide Canada, are the designated intermediaries. These three organizations are now accepting applications on behalf of Government of Canada. They have since posted respective qualifying criteria and application guidelines, within ESDC’s funding framework.

Ahmed Hussein was born in Somalia. A Canadian-trained lawyer, he was first elected to Parliament in 2015. The minister held the Immigration, Citizenship, and Refugees portfolio, before he took his current one.