Economic Empowerment of Black Youth in Ontario

In February 2022, the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Multiculturalism announced an additional investment of $14 million for the Black Youth Action Plan to support Black youth in achieving social and economic success.

To support community stakeholders in building a shared understanding of evidence-based interventions and outcomes under the new economic empowerment stream, YouthREX has developed an Outcomes Framework for the Economic Empowerment of Black Youth in Ontario.

Why Is an Economic Empowerment Strategy Necessary for Black Youth?

Historical and ongoing practices of anti-Black racism across systems have contributed to the economic marginalization and cyclical poverty of Black communities in Ontario.

Approximately 6 out of 10 Black youth in Ontario completed a post-secondary program by 35 – 6.8% less compared to all Ontario youth.

The median employment income for Black youth in Ontario is $26,759earning $8,404 less per year compared with all Ontario youth.

More than half of Black Ontarians (ages 25-64) live in rented accommodation, versus less than a quarter of the general population.

Black youth in Ontario face economic barriers such as economic marginalization, disproportionate outcomes in the education system, lack of access to critical social capital and discrimination in employment.

These barriers and other economic barriers facing Black youth are deep-seated, found across sectors, and often intergenerational.

How Can an Economic Empowerment Strategy Be Transformative?

The SIDE Theory of Change that informs the Outcomes Framework for the Economic Empowerment of Black Youth in Ontario takes a holistic approach to economic empowerment of Black youth by recognizing that removing systemic barriers and building capacities must be explored together.

To actualize transformative economic empowerment for Black youth, we need to work at all levels – individual and institutional as well as informal and formal levels to both remove barriers and increase pathways to economic prosperity. Transformation requires a multi-dimensional approach!

Quadrant 1: Shift Critical Consciousness

Overturn beliefs and expectations that limit the capabilities of Black people and challenge restrictive cultural and social norms that sustain racial inequity.

Quadrant 2: Increase Equitable Access To Resources and Opportunities for Black Youth

Equitable access to physical, human, intellectual and financial resources including opportunities to learn, earn, and generate wealth.

Quadrant 3: Dismantle Exclusionary Norms and Practices

Informal practices within all levels of society that contribute to Black youths' limited access to resources & opportunities. Not institutionally formalized, but still exist.

Quadrant 4: Enforce Equitable Policies and Laws

Equitable labour policies and laws enforced with stricter regulations against discrimination in hiring and promotion practices, workplace racism, and financial lending practices. 

Evidence-Based Interventions and Outcomes Under the Economic Empowerment Stream

An economic empowerment strategy for Black youth should focus on dismantling barriers and promoting pathways to education, meaningful employment, and financial security.


Providing learning  opportunities so Black youth have the skills and supports needed to succeed.


Creating pathways to sustained, meaningful and safe labour market participation for Black youth.


Providing supports to Black youth in emerging/high-growth sectors to diversify economic opportunities.

“If we don’t scout, recruit, invest in and cheer for Black engineers, biologists and computer scientists as we do for quarterbacks, linebackers and wide receivers, our youth won’t be able to participate in the game of life when they grow up.”

- ANDRE PERRY, Author of “Let’s invest in Black kids who pursue STEM the way we do Black kids on the football field.” (2019, December 11).

Related Resources

These resources were created to share findings from Doing Right Together for Black Youth, a report that summarizes what was learned during community consultations to co-develop the Ontario Black Youth Action Plan (BYAP) in 2017.

Working Together Against Anti-Black Racism in Ontario’s Youth Sector
Part One
+ Part Two

Access additional resources to support your work with Black youth on our Knowledge Hub!


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