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NEXT LEVEL: Canada Soccer names Charmaine Crooks as interim president, BlackNorth closes TSX, and more

"Next Level" spotlights prominent Black Canadians who have been promoted, elevated, or honoured with a prestigious position, award, or monument. Check out Part 5 of the series.

NEXT LEVEL: Canada Soccer names Charmaine Crooks as interim president, BlackNorth closes TSX, and more
Charmaine Crooks has been appointed interim president of Canada Soccer. LINKEDIN PHOTO

Canada Soccer has announced it is appointing five-time Olympian Charmaine Crooks on Mar. 1, replacing Nick Bontis, who resigned on Monday (Feb. 27), as its interim president, according to Sportsnet.

Crooks previously served as vice president of Canada Soccer’s board of directors. She has also served on the boards of the Canadian Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee's Athletes Commission.

During her professional career, she was on the women's 4x400-metre relay team that took home a silver medal in Los Angeles in 1984.

The news comes as the embattled national sports organization looks to complete a labour deal with its men’s and women’s teams, according to Sportsnet.

The Olympic gold-medal-winning women's team only participated in the SheBelieves Cup last month after Canada Soccer threatened legal action. Meanwhile, last June, the Canadian men's World Cup team opted not to play a scheduled exhibition match against Panama in Vancouver.

Moreover, the men's and women's teams have asked Canada Soccer to release all its financial records, including contract details with Canadian Soccer Business, which negotiates sponsorship and television agreements.

Now, she will be counted on to right the ship and help resolve the labour dispute, reports read.

Crooks was inducted into the Order of Canada in 2012.

BlackNorth Initiative Closes TSX Market

In a historic moment, the BlackNorth Initiative became the first Black Canadian organization to close the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) in celebration of Black History Month.

“We celebrate Black History Month to recognize and honour the contributions of Black people in Canada and to acknowledge the ongoing struggle for equity and justice,” Dahabo Ahmed-Omer, executive director of BlackNorth Initiative, said in a statement. “The Inaugural BlackNorth Excellence gala was an unforgettable evening that celebrated Black excellence in Canada. It was an incredible opportunity to recognize Black Canadians' contributions and inspire future generations. We are proud to be the first Black-led organization to close the market today and partner with TMX Group.”

The organization, which strives to break down anti-Black systemic barriers, was in attendance with employees and TMX staff.

“At TMX Group, we are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion across our organization, and Black History Month is an important opportunity to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Black Canadians,” Eliza Casinather, head of equity, diversity, and inclusion at TMX Group, said in a statement. “We are proud to stand with the BlackNorth Initiative in their mission to end anti-Black systemic racism throughout all aspects of people's lives.”

Air Canada tributes Black pilots, employees

Air Canada chartered a celebratory flight from Montreal to Halifax for Black pilots, employees, and managers on the ground at Montreal Trudeau International Airport and Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

The guests were able to learn about Halifax’s Black cultural heritage and visited Africville, a historic community in Nova Scotia that has deep roots in the province.

“Air Canada salutes its Black employees who have proudly championed their identity and pride to showcase their achievements and contributions to aviation. This is the second year in a row we have applauded Black excellence with a celebration flight and we are thrilled to highlight our employees' professional achievements. They are incredible ambassadors and role models for the next generation of Black youth,” Arielle Meloul-Wechsler, executive vice president and chief human resources officer and public affairs at Air Canada, said in a statement.

The celebratory flight builds on a series of diversity initiatives the airline has targeted to support the Black community. It has more than 680 Black employees nationwide, a statement reads.