Toronto Black Vaccine Engagement Team

The Black Vaccine Engagement Team (BVET) is a consortium of 10 Black-serving agencies formed in April 2021 to support Black residents across Toronto with COVID-19 vaccine education.

Our Mission

To encourage open, culturally-responsive and non-judgemental engagement of Black Torontonians around COVID-19 and vaccinations. Our approach to increasing vaccine confidence is to listen, inform and provide mental and emotional support, while meeting people where they are at.

We aim to help members of our diverse Black communities make informed decisions about COVID-19 vaccinations while being treated with respect and dignity.

How We Engage

We engage with community using our resident ambassadors, via door knocking, conversations in local barbershops and salons, hosting expert panels and community conversations, as well as events.


Belka Enrichment Center
Belka Enrichment Center is a voluntary community–based organization aimed at developing the academic and social potential of low-income youth. In keeping with the Belka Enrichment Center’s commitment to community, current efforts have been expanded to support access to mental and physical health services for youth and their families through pop-up and mobile vaccine clinics and door-to-door vaccine education efforts in the African, Caribbean and Black communities in Toronto.
Black Health Alliance
Black Health Alliance is a community-based charity working to improve the health and well-being of the 1.2 million Black people in Canada. Black Health Alliance is supporting the response to COVID-19 by developing health promotion communication products tailored to the unique needs, lived realities and cultural specificities of diverse African, Caribbean and Black (ACB) Toronto residents. Our work is currently focused on COVID-19 prevention, testing, vaccination and available community supports for ACB residents.
Braids for AIDS
Braids for AIDS was created in response to calls to provide a culturally-appropriate response to HIV/AIDS awareness in the African, Caribbean and Black Communities in Canada. The program has grown to impact Black communities globally. Braids for AIDS engages in dialogue in safe and open spaces such as hair salons, barber shops, to reduce the stigma and spread of HIV/AIDS, and have expanded this effort to include creating awareness around COVID-19 safety and vaccination to Black Torontonians - particularly those who are immuno-compromised such as person living with HIV/AIDS.
Centre Francophone du Grand Toronto
For over 30 years, the Centre Francophone of Greater Toronto (CFGT) has been the gateway for Francophones living in or settling in Toronto. CFGT is the only multidisciplinary centre offering a varied range of services such as primary care, mental health, settlement by legal aid services, early childhood services, employment services and cultural activities - largely to Toronto’s Black Francophone community. CFGT is committed to working closely with community partners to build vaccine confidence and increase vaccine uptake for Black communities.
Ghanaian-Canadian Association of Ontario (GCAO)
GCAO is an umbrella organization of different Ghanaian cultural associations and faith-based groups with the mission to enhance the living standards of Ghanaian-Canadians in Ontario through social, cultural, and educational programs, and through other diaspora initiatives. GCAO has the commitment to preserve and sustain the welfare of all Ghanaian-Canadians. Our theme for this year is “Protected Together: Vaccine Engagement”. We truly believe that if the Black community members are fully vaccinated, we can be protected together.
Margaret’s Housing and Community Support Services (“Margaret’s”)
Margaret’s is a multi-service agency that offers innovative community-based support services for individuals experiencing intersectional issues tied to mental health challenges and homelessness. Our vision is to ensure the most marginalized in our communities are sheltered and supported through their mental health journey. Our response during the pandemic includes cultivating safe conversations around COVID-19, safety and vaccination as well as hosting weekly vaccine clinics for persons experiencing homelessness.
Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario (SCAGO)
SCAGO is a leading charitable patient organization providing evidence-based support to families with children, adolescents, and adults, with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) across the province. Due to biases and systemic racism experienced by SCD patients in the medical system, there is hesitancy around COVID-19 vaccination even though individuals with SCD fare worse if they contract the virus. This makes it doubly important for the SCAGO to be a part of the BVET as we work with other Black-led organizations in Toronto to improve the well-being of Blacks including those from the SCD community.
Scarborough Indigenous Mental Wellness Advisory Council (SIMWAC)
SIMWAC works with the TAIBU Community Health Centre to support the development and implementation of culturally-appropriate and traditionally-affirming programs and services to the Indigenous and Afro-Indigenous communities of Toronto.
TAIBU Community Health Centre
TAIBU Community Health Centre is at the forefront of the delivery of community health and social services to Black communities across the Greater Toronto Area. TAIBU’s work aims to improve, promote, and protect the health and well-being for Black populations through quality and culturally-designed primary health care services and strategies. TAIBU is actively engaged in offering weekly vaccine clinics for the Black, Indigenous and Francophone communities of Toronto as well as mental health and wellness programs for Black Torontonians and other COVID-19 equity supports.
Uzima Women’s Relief Group International (UWRGI)
UWRGI provides care and support to families affected by poverty, war, and disease domestically and internationally to contribute to the global efforts on women’s health, education, and human rights. Uzima is a Kiswahili word meaning wellness. Uzima has worked to provide aid to women and families impacted by the pandemic including women experiencing domestic violence during lockdowns, food and financial support as well as vaccine education, booking and accompaniment services.

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