Toronto District School Board Trustees have received the Board’s first-ever Annual Human Rights Report. The report, produced by the TDSB’s Human Rights Office, was presented during a regular Board meeting last night and underscores a continued commitment to create welcoming schools, classrooms and spaces free from discrimination, informed by the collection of data on incidents of racism, hate and bias.
The Human Rights Office Annual Report: 2018-2020 reviews TDSB’s own data to present current trends which have emerged within the Board. Race or race related grounds is the most frequent ground of complaint received by the Human Rights Office making up 54% of all complaints alleging a human rights violation. Disability is the second most frequently cited ground making up 20% of complaints. Since the Board began to place greater emphasis on reporting issues of racism and hate, there has been a surge in the number of incidents reported to the Human Rights Office.
A key action in addressing these issues was creating a practice where the Human Rights Office moved beyond conflict management and towards a greater focus on education, understanding and system transformation. The Board has recruited a strong team of human rights experts who support and advise the TDSB community with respect to system transformation, including building capacity of all staff on human rights.
The report also lays out a comprehensive plan to address the serious issues identified, including all forms address all forms of racism including anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-Asian racism, and discrimination faced by those with disabilities, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. The plan focuses on four specific areas: systemic accountability, capacity building within the organization, more effective outreach and engagement, and the creation of more effective incident and resolution processes. Work in each of these areas is underway and positions the TDSB to more effectively identify, address, remedy and prevent racism and discrimination and move closer to becoming a school system where each and every student can reach their full potential.
- The Human Rights Office Annual Report: 2018-2020 is the first of its kind in the TDSB.
- The action plan includes improving systemic accountability, capacity building within the organization, more effective outreach and engagement, and the creation of more effective incident and resolution processes.
- In August, the TDSB launched a Racism, Bias & Hate Reporting Portal for Principals and Superintendents to report and manage responses to incidents of racism and hate involving or impacting students.
“Before change can happen, we must acknowledge the long-standing inequities in our system. Reviewing and accepting our data is a critical step and allows us to make tangible plans and actions that focus on system change by centering equity through human rights to support staff and students in the TDSB. As Trustees, we must consider this report and our role in making the necessary changes to ensure that we have schools and workplaces that are free of discrimination, harassment and hate.”
- Alexander Brown, Chair, TDSB
“Our deep commitment to addressing racism, discrimination, hate and the legacies of colonization is underscored by our work in human rights. We are committed to taking up the challenge this report lays out for us and we will use this data to take effective, strategic and bold actions to reduce incidents of hate and to enhance a culture of equity and human rights.”
- Karen Falconer, Interim Director of Education, TDSB