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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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Alberta

Local moving company donating 101 moves to support vulnerable Canadians this holiday season

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Submitted by Two Small Men with Big Hearts Moving

Two Small Men with Big Hearts Moving is moving joy, one community organization at a time

This holiday season, Two Small Men with Big Hearts Moving (“Two Small Men”) is spreading joy, seeking to donate 101 moves to community organizations that support at-risk individuals. With inflation at an all-time high and the higher stresses that come with the holiday season and colder weather, Two Small Men is looking to give back to the local markets they operate in during this time of need. This marks the third year for this initiative, which Two Small Men was inspired to launch in 2020, following the hardships of COVID-19. The campaign has grown year-over-year, from 25 donated moves in 2020, to 80 moves in 2021, and now with a goal of 101 moves for 2022.

Two Small Men has a long history in Red Deer having supported the Red Deer Food Bank, Bridges Community Living, and the Alberta Motor Association in past years. They are also always actively searching for new community organizations to partner with to support with donated moving services.

This holiday season, Two Small Men will be helping organizations that support vulnerable communities with everything from moving mass amounts of food to local food banks, to supporting shelters with moving individuals into new homes, to moving toys for underprivileged children.

Two Small Men’s community-first mindset is a key part of its identity. Written right into the name, it is a moving company with a big heart, that cares deeply about giving back. Two Small Men has developed a robust community giving program that supports a variety of non-profit and charitable organizations with in-kind moving services, donation collection initiatives, and other financial contributions. Each year, the business redirects 10 per cent of its annual profits to community giving and other charitable operations. In 2022, Two Small Men projects this will translate into a donation fund of $200,000, with the goal of growing to give $750,000 annually in the next 10 years.

“Moving people’s possessions is our business, but the heart of what we do is really all about supporting the people who make up our communities,” says Addison Parfeniuk, CEO, Two Small Men Big Hearts Moving. “We know that the winter season can be an especially challenging time for many people, and it is our hope that by partnering with local organizations such as the Red Deer Food Bank, we will be able to fill the real needs of real people in the Red Deer community.”

Charitable and non-profit organizations are encouraged to submit their moving needs for consideration in this year’s Season of Giving campaign.

For more information, please visit https://twosmallmen.com/about-us/giving-back/.

About Two Small Men
Two Small Men with Big Hearts Moving is a Canadian moving company focused on supporting customers through every stage of their move, big or small. Founded in 1982, the company has 25 offices across the country with major operations in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Kelowna, and Winnipeg, and a fleet of more than 100 moving trucks. Committed to giving back to their communities, they donate 10 per cent of their profits each year to relevant charities and organizations that are serving the community.

 

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Festival of Trees tickets are for sale now

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29th Annual Festival of Trees

It’s time to experience the magic of Festival of Trees! Celebrate at Festival of Wines, be enchanted by Mistletoe Magic, and enjoy family fun at the all new Festival Pancake Breakfast.

For the last 28 years, Festival of Trees has raised funds for healthcare enhancements for the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre and other health centres in Central Alberta.

2022: FUNDING THE INTENSIVE CARE AND CARDIAC CARE UNITS AT RED DEER REGIONAL HOSPITAL CENTRE.

As the only facility in Central Zone with Intensive Care and Coronary Care beds, Red Deer Hospital will be creating a permanent space for CCU and expanding its ICU beds by 8, for a total of 20 ICU beds. Our healthcare system needs more capacity, and this expansion is the first step in responding to the increased demand for high-quality care for patients in the ICU and CCU.

Cardiac enhancements and expansion of bed space have been a longstanding priority for our hospital, and Festival of Trees is thrilled to support the equipment needs in these new spaces by providing CPAP/BI-PAP machines, ultrasound systems, Glidescopes, and much more.

Festival of Wines

We’re not just wines anymore!
Sample flavours from around the world. Local restaurants, fine wineries, craft beer brewers, and select distillers will all tempt you with some of their finest offerings.
Friday, November 25 | 7:00-11:00pm
Tickets $100 including gate admission | 18+

Mistletoe Magic

It has finally returned after a two-year absence! Get back to dining and dancing with your favourite girl with this magical evening of dinner and entertainment for fathers and daughters of all ages.
Daddies and daughters have been making this event a must-do Christmas tradition since 1998. This year we’ve got more fun and games than ever before.
Saturday, November 26 | 6:00-11:00pm
      Tickets $125 including gate admission | All ages

NEW! Festival Pancake Breakfast

Grab a quick bite before you hit the Tree Room this year with a pancake breakfast for the whole family.
Pancakes, sausages, music, and a visit from Santa are all in store.
Sunday, November 27 | 10:00am-12:00pm
Tickets are $15 (13+), $10 (4-12), $5 (3 and under)
Includes gate admission | All ages
                  TICKETS.              
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december, 2022

thu08dec5:30 pm7:30 pmPregnancy & Loss Support Group - Zoom Session5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

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