Toronto District School Board

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Toronto District School Board

Support for Students Without Legal Immigration Status and Newcomer/Refugee Students and Families

Categories: Advocacy

November 28, 2023

The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada
The Honourable Stephen Lecce, Education Minister of Ontario

On behalf of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), I am writing to request your urgent attention and support in addressing the educational needs of a particularly vulnerable and deserving group of students within our school board. As the Chair of the TDSB, it is my responsibility to champion the needs of all students, including those who are new to Canada, refugees, and those without legal immigration status. 

Our commitment to ensuring a safe, welcoming, supportive, and adequately resourced educational environment for all students, irrespective of their immigration status, is not only a moral imperative but also a legal obligation that aligns with the values of inclusivity and fairness that we uphold in Toronto, Ontario, and across Canada. 

As per our existing policies, specifically P061 Students Without Legal Immigration Status, which was adopted by our Board on May 16, 2007, we are dedicated to ensuring that all children who qualify as resident pupils of our Board, including those without immigration status in Canada, are entitled to admission to our schools. 

It is evident that newcomer students, including refugees and those without immigration status, may require additional support to address their unique needs, such as language proficiency, special education, social work, mental health, and translation/interpreters. As a result, the additional strain on resources and funding can place significant pressure on our board's ability to meet these needs effectively within our current programming and service levels. 

I am requesting additional one-time funding or an adjustment to the 2023-2024 Grant for Student Needs (GSNs) to ensure adequate support for refugees and students without immigration status. I also urge you to provide information to school boards, Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA), and Council of Ontario Directors of Education (CODE) on current immigration/settlement plans, including destination points for refugees. 

Your support and assistance in addressing these concerns would be critical in allowing us to fulfill our commitment to providing a nurturing and supportive learning environment for all students.  

Thank you for your attention to this critical matter. I welcome the opportunity to further discuss these matters with you and your team. 



Rachel Chernos Lin 
Chair, Toronto District School Board 

Paul Chiang, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship