How the Federal Budget 2023 Affects Black Businesses and the Black Community at Large
Each year, when the Canadian government releases its federal budget, it gives us a good opportunity to evaluate the country’s current focus and future goals and assess if they are in line with our own. This is valuable information, as it equips us to advocate more effectively for those things that are not being prioritized by the government and to better collaborate with government entities on the issues that are being addressed.
The 2023 federal budget was released two days ago, and as members of the Black business community, we were interested to see what programs would receive focus and funding this year. The main priorities this year appear to be health/dental, affordability, and green energy—all of which are relevant to the Black community as a whole, and Black business owners specifically.
Highlights of the budget include a doubling of the GST rebate for low-income families (up to $467 per family), $13 billion over the next five years for dental care plans for families earning less than $90,000, and $359 million over the next five years for programs addressing the opioid crisis. Considering many Black families in Canada live well below the median income level, these programs will provide much-needed support for the community. However, they don’t help solve the root of the problem, which is ongoing systemic racism that results in income disparities amongst minority groups. A total of $4 billion will also be allocated over the next seven years for Indigenous housing strategies, which is again a step in the right direction. But until the system provides equal opportunity for all people to earn a living wage and thrive within the business environment, fixes such as these will continue to be Band-aids that only cover up the problem without truly solving it.
The other focus of the budget this year is on the development of green energy, with $20 billion in tax credits being provided over the next six years to promote investment in the sector. Black businesses and entrepreneurs would do well to find ways to take advantage of these credits and enter the green energy sector (if they have not already done so), as it will continue to grow in scale and scope over the coming years.
The picture that we have been provided by the 2023 budget gives us a clearer look at the priorities of the Canadian government, and there are certainly a number of gaps that need to be filled. While we continue to advocate for systemic change, the Black community should find ways to avail itself of the opportunities provided by this new budge while ensuring that the lower-income families in our community have access to the support programs that are being created.