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Black Entrepreneur Support Announcement: Well Intentioned but not Black and White

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“There shall be maintained in the Department an Indian Register in which shall be recorded the name of every person who is entitled to be registered as an Indian under this Act.”

– Subsection 5(1) of the Indian Act (Canada)

In the tax and business community, we are used to seeing targeted government programs for various groups to provide support. Examples include (but are not limited to) support for:

  • Low income
  • Seniors
  • Students
  • Young families
  • Single parents
  • Northern Residents
  • Farming and Fishing
  • Technology sector
  • Investment in Environment-friendly areas
  • etc.

The above list are described usually by specific definitions of what the terms mean. Age, industry type, geographic location, education status, marital status, dependant status, energy consumption/efficiency, etc.

We occasionally see other support for things like (again, not an all inclusive list)

  • Women in business
  • Small businesses
  • People with Disabilities
  • Indigenous supports

Require a little more clarification of the definitions on gender vs sex, size of business (number of staff, amount of revenue, etc), ownership, disabilities, and of course an example I led with – a definition of ethnic background.

So the recent announcement of creating additional support for “Black Entrepreneurs” while the intent would be to be help those that need it – the definitions are yet to be determined – which is where the problem lies.

I started this article by quoting from legislation called the Indian Act. This legislation is far from perfect, has many problems, not the least of which is the creation of a list of a type of people.

However, as flawed as the legislation is, it has attempted to create a definition of what an Indian (the word defined in Subsection 2(1) of the Indian Act) is.

Canada does not have a “Black Register” or a list of “Black-status” individuals. It does not have a legal definition of the word “Black”.

Now please don’t take things out of context.

I applaud anything that will help small business owners, and hope that this program will work as well. However, with my experience in tax legislation and interpretation I can already see the problems that can arise when layman words are used instead of legally defined terms.

What classifies as a “Black-owned Business” or a “Black Entrepreneur” for this program? This has yet to be defined.

In a country as diverse as Canada, we have many different backgrounds from all over the world living side-by-side in (relative) “peace” (by comparison to other conflict regions in the world).

But what does it mean to be “Black” for the purposes of this program?

Now I know that I am not likely to meet the future legislated definition of what it means to be “Black”. I’m of european descent on both sides, as far back (that I know of), and I’m sure the announcement by the government is not intending for me to get this support as an entrepreneur.

There may be simplicity in those situations that are, like me, of 100% “non-Black descent”. But, like the Indian Act has tried to do – and has been challenged in court for decades – it is not that easy to define someone’s ethnic background.

How do I advise my business-owning client, that has one “Black parent”, and one “White parent”? Do they qualify for the program because they have one “Black parent” – or do they get disqualified because they have one “White parent”?

What about one grandparent?

How far back to we look? Great-Grandparents? Does ancestral place of birth matter? etc.

How will they assess eligibility?

Is it solely based on skin pigment? How would that be fair to those that may otherwise meet the criteria, but don’t look “Black”?

Will there be blood tests?

I know you are thinking to yourself, ‘Cory, that’s pretty extreme’ … you’re right and that is my point.

I really do want this program to succeed, and I will help my clients that qualify for it to get it, but do you have a concrete suggestion for how to define what “Black” actually means for this program?

Every government program has the devil in the details, and without a clear definition of what a “Black Entrepreneur” is, we can expect the administrators and financial institutions implementing such a program to be in a nightmare from the beginning.

We’ve already seen the problems with the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) when they expanded the program but went away from defined terms like amount of 2019 payroll, and moved towards subjective terms like “non-deferrable expenses”.

When you open things up to subjective interpretation, things become less clear and you end up with a lot of “grey area” as a layer of complexity not wanted.

The Indian Act has been around since 1876 as a combining of the Gradual Civilization Act (1857) and the Gradual Enfranchisement Act (1869).

Scholars more intelligent than myself have battled with this flawed piece of legislation but this is the closest we have in Canada to a prior government attempt to define a race of people.

I want support for entrepreneurs that need it, however when my client asks me on whether or not they qualify for this vague announcement I want to be able to give them a simple “Black” or “White” answer.

Note: I used “quotation marks” throughout this commentary to emphasize the lack of a standard legal definition for any of these terms.

Cory G. Litzenberger, CPA, CMA, CFP, C.Mgr is the founder of CGL Strategic Business & Tax Advisors (CGLtax.ca). Cory is an advocate for small business; converts legislation into layman terms; and provides Canadian tax advisory services to other CPA firms and their clients across Canada.

Biography of Cory G. Litzenberger, CPA, CMA, CFP, C.Mgr can be found here.

CEO | Director, Canadian Tax Advisory CGL Strategic Business & Tax Advisors With the Income Tax Act always by his side on his smart-phone, Cory has taken tax-nerd to a whole other level. His background in strategic planning, tax-efficient corporate reorganizations, business management, and financial planning bring a well-rounded approach to assist private corporations and their owners increase their wealth through the strategies that work best for them. An entrepreneur himself, Cory started CGL with the idea that he wanted to help clients adapt to the ever-changing tax and economic environment and increase their wealth through optimizing the use of tax legislation coupled with strategic business planning and financial analysis. His relaxed blue-collar approach in a traditionally white-collar industry can raise a few eyebrows, but in his own words: “People don’t pay me for my looks. My modeling career ended at birth.” More info: https://www.CGLtax.ca/Litzenberger-Cory.html

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Central Alberta

Children’s Fest is back in the park in 2022!

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Groups and organizations come together to host the 16th Annual Central Alberta Children’s Festival

Never Grow Up!

After 2 years of re-imagined festivals we are excited to be hosting the 16 th Annual Central Alberta Children’s Festival back in the park. This family-friendly event is held over two days the first weekend of June. The festival is an opportunity for children and their families to get first-hand knowledge and exposure to the arts, to allow their creativity and imaginations to blossom.

June 3rd and 4th Rotary Recreation Park 4501 47A Ave, Red Deer will come to life with music, dancing, children running and laughing enjoying tons of interactive fun!

The community planning committee has been busy putting together a great two days that will enchant and engage children of all ages. With support from various community partners, the festival brings affordable, culturally diverse, and exciting entertainment through featured artists and interactive fun. We strive to allow families to actively engage in learning and playtime by fostering their imagination and creativity. From dancing, ultimate fort building, Laser Chase, Imaginate where you will learn from local artists, glitter tattoos, and performances this children’s festival has it all.

Live shows include:

 Beppie a JUNO nominated recording artist and an award winning music educator based out of Edmonton,

 LANCE CARDINAL ᐊᐧᒐᐢᐠ First Nations artist, designer, and entrepreneur. Lance recently began a new role as Indigenous consultant and designer for the Edmonton Oilers, writing the new pre-game land acknowledgement video and designing the new Turtle Island Logo.

 The Joe Show – Start with a little magic. Add some breathtaking illusions. Stir in appearances from an amazing collection of animal friends with ventriloquism, Sprinkle in a healthy dose of jokes, laughter and fun, and you have the recipe for an amazing show known as the Joe Show

With our admission fee of only $7 per person, or $25 per family or anytime pass $40.00 for a family, every family can enjoy the world-class entertainment and all activities. Included with the admission, families will also have access to free
snacks and water (bring a bottle!), The Central Alberta Children’s Festival welcomes kids ages 0 – 99!

For more information on the festival visit www.centralalbertachildrensfestival.ca

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Community

Run or Hike for more than your health at the Run/Hike for Hospice on June 5, 2022

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With less than one month to go, registration and planning for the 15th Annual Run/Hike for Hospice, presented by RSM Canada, is in fully swing! Choose to hike, walk, or stroll the 1km or 4km within the beautiful Kerry Wood Nature Centre Sanctuary or run 5km along the city’s scenic riverside trails.

“Run/Hike for Hospice is an opportunity to celebrate the journey of life for a loved one or just get outside and spend time with family and friends. The event also raises funds in support of end of life care in Central Alberta,” shared Jerri Taylor, Executive Director of the Red Deer Hospice. “It is a key fundraiser for us, our goal for Run/Hike for Hospice this year is to raise $35,000 in donations and pledges and we are happy to report we are half way there!”

Registration for teams and individuals is open at www.reddeerhospice.com and is just $25 per individual. At the event (and included with your registration) you can expect live music, a burger and plenty of other snacks as well as a t-shirt (while supplies last). Virtual options are available for those who just aren’t ready to be back in a crowd.

IN-PERSON Participants can join us at the outdoor event which will take place at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre Sunday June 5th, 2022. Choose to Hike 1km or 4km within the beautiful Kerry Wood Nature Centre Sanctuary or Run 5km along the city’s scenic riverside trails.
Registration           9:00am
Race Start              10:00am

VIRTUAL Participants are encouraged to complete a Run or Hike in their own time & pace at any destination of their choice while raising funds for Red Deer Hospice.

RACE PACKAGE PICK UP, PLEDGE DROP OFF
Stop by the RSM parking lot (546 Laura Avenue, Red Deer County) just down from the Gasoline Alley Farmer’s Market to pick up your Run Hike for Hospice Race Package or drop off any offline pledges you’ve been collecting!

Friday June 3rd       4:00pm – 7:00pm
Saturday June 4th    10:00am -1:00pm 

Register
Register online by purchasing your tickets.  Registration fee is $25.
Free for kids ages 12 and under (registration is still required to get a shirt).
For those registering after May 1st, we will have a limited quantity of shirts available on a first come, first served basis.

Fundraise
Help support Red Deer Hospice by collecting pledges & fundraising on our behalf. CanadaHelps.ca makes it easy for you and your team to collect donations virtually.  You can even customize your fundraising page and share about your personal connection to Red Deer Hospice.  Prizes will be awarded for top fundraisers!
​Don’t want to fundraise yourself? Donate to one of our Hikers or Runners that is already registered!
Connect
What else can you do to celebrate the life of a loved one & raise awareness around end of life care in Central Alberta?:
  • Print off one of our pre-made window hangers to help let your neighbors know you are supporting Red Deer Hospice.
  • Have someone you are Running or Hiking in honor of? Feel free to send us a picture along with their name to [email protected] and we will share it with everyone in our public “In Honor Of Album” (found on our Website & Facebook Event).
  • Make a connection with us on social media by tagging @RedDeerHospice on FB or @rdhospice on Instagram & using the #hikeforhospicerd2022 or #runforhospicerd2022


​For more information, contact our Event Coordinator at 403-309-4344 ext 109 or by email.

Picture
*For those registering after May 1st, we will have a limited quantity of shirts available on a first come, first served basis.

 

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