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Toronto District School Board

Support for the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Request for a Provincial Anti-Hate Strategy

Categories: Advocacy

November 30, 2023

The Honourable Michael D. Ford
Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism of Ontario

Dear Minister Ford, 

As the Chair of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), I am writing to express our full support for the Ontario Human Rights Commission's (OHRC) imperative call for the development of a well-resourced province-wide anti-hate strategy. 

The recent publications and statements from the OHRC Chief Commissioner, Patricia DeGuire, and the repeated emphasis on the urgent need for a comprehensive anti-hate strategy to combat the escalating incidents of hate in our society underscore the critical need for immediate and decisive action. 

Given the evolving landscape and manifestations of hate, both in our schools and communities, it is critical that any forthcoming strategy aligns with the most current evidence, practices, and human rights policies. We endorse the OHRC's suggestion to initiate a thorough review of existing policies, regulatory frameworks, and legal mechanisms pertaining to the identification, definition, and addressing of hate. This review is essential to ensure that our approach is comprehensive, adaptive, and reflective of today’s societal challenges. 

A multi-faceted strategy, as advocated for by the OHRC, should involve not only government bodies but also public sector institutions, school boards, professional associations in education, municipalities, law enforcement agencies, and community organizations. This collaborative approach will undoubtedly contribute to the development of a more comprehensive and inclusive dialogue, and result in a more impactful and effective anti-hate strategy. 

In a news release of November 2022, Education Minister Stephen Lecce stressed the importance of “expanding resources and strengthening anti-hate training for Ontario students, educators, and families.” We agree, and we suggest that a provincial anti-hate strategy would be an important foundation for that work.  

This strategy could then provide direction to school boards, supported by critically important provincial funding to school boards to address hate. It is imperative that resources are provided to ensure staff can get the professional development required to be competent to address these difficult, critical conversations with students, and to ensure boards are able to follow-up on incidents with appropriate education. The TDSB remains deeply committed to addressing all instances of hate within our schools, but we need your help in ensuring we are resourced to do so. 

Seeing the rise in hate incidents in our schools and across the province, our board considers this matter urgent, and as such, we kindly request a response to this letter by December 31, 2023. 

Thank you for considering our endorsement and for your attention to this crucial matter. Sincerely, 


Rachel Chernos Lin 
Chair, Toronto District School Board

 

CC:
Ontario Human Rights Commission
City of Toronto
Ontario Public School Boards’ Association
All Members of Ontario Provincial Parliament