2020-21 Grants for Student Needs: Indigenous Education

Advancing Reconciliation is a priority of OPSBA – supporting this through Indigenous education is important for all school boards. We support a curriculum for all students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 that contains clear expectations that every student will acquire knowledge and understanding of Treaties and of the historical context that gave rise to residential schools, the impact on Indigenous children and their families, and the ongoing legacy that is the responsibility of all Canadians.

Indigenous students are one of the fastest growing student populations across the province, and in fact, are the fastest growing student demographic in Northern Ontario, with more students self-identifying as Indigenous every year. Increases have also been seen in the number of Indigenous Trustees as members of public school boards, with more Boards moving to formalize the representation of Indigenous students at the governance level.

OPSBA recommends:

  • Sufficient funding be given to cover curriculum resources and staff training to support the implementation of a comprehensive Ontario curriculum. This should contain clear expectations that every Ontario student will acquire knowledge and understanding of Treaties and of the historical context that gave rise to residential schools, the impact on First Nation, Métis and Inuit children and their families, and the ongoing legacy that is the responsibility of all Canadians.
  • The ministry continue to address closing the achievement and graduation rate gap between Indigenous students and non-Indigenous students to ensure success. Graduation coaches are one example of an initiative that has shown proven results in a number of OPSBA member boards.
  • The ministry address the often problematic transition point between Grade 8 and 9 for Indigenous students.