Ontario Implementing New Indigenous Training and Education Requirements
Province Committed to Working with Partners to Address Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action
The provincial government is taking steps to address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's (TRC) Calls to Action regarding education and training, including introducing mandatory Indigenous cultural competency and anti-racism training for every employee in the Ontario Public Service (OPS) and implementing mandatory learning expectations in Ontario's public education system curriculum.
Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement today at an Indigenous cultural competency event for OPS employees.
The new employee training will help public servants partner with Indigenous people to ensure that culturally relevant and appropriate policies and programs will work to actively redress the legacy of residential schools, advance the process of reconciliation with Indigenous communities and make a real difference in the lives of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people.
All public servants will complete training that includes:
- Participating in interactive activities about culture, stereotyping, and the consequences and legacies of colonization
- Learning about tools that can help develop more effective communications and relationship-building skills to promote positive partnerships with Indigenous people
- Exploring how to enhance services to Indigenous people
The training will include topics such as terminology, diversity, aspects of colonial history such as residential schools and Indian hospitals, and contexts for understanding social disparities and inequities. It will also include a focus on violence against Indigenous women.
In collaboration with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and education partners, the Ministry of Education is developing a comprehensive plan to ensure that the impact of residential schools, the history of colonization and the importance of treaties is incorporated into mandatory learning expectations in Ontario's public education system curriculum. As of September 2015, Ontario's Faculties of Education are required to provide mandatory content that includes First Nation, Métis and Inuit histories, cultures, perspectives and ways of knowing.
New training and education for Ontarians is one of many steps on Ontario's journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. It reflects the government's commitment to work with Indigenous partners to create a better future for everyone in the province.
- The TRC report included 94 Calls to Action to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.
- OPS employees are also required to complete other mandatory training, including workplace violence prevention and workplace discrimination and harassment prevention, as well as Ontario’s Human Rights Code and Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requirements that apply to persons with disabilities.
- Ontario’s Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs will also work with First Nations, Métis and Inuit partners and relevant ministries to support the delivery of Indigenous cultural competency training for employees across the broader public sector.
- On August 24, 2015, Ontario signed a historic Political Accord that represents a renewal of the relationship between First Nations and Ontario.
“We cannot build a brighter future unless we first understand how the historical treatment of Indigenous peoples in Canada has created unfair circumstances and harsh realities in Indigenous peoples’ lives today. By making changes to our public school curriculum and introducing mandatory training in Indigenous cultural competency for Ontario’s public servants, we are taking an important step on the path to reconciliation. Our government is committed to working with Indigenous partners to provide programs that respond to the real needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people.”
“I am pleased to see that all Ontario Public Service staff will now be required to take cultural competency training. This training will help ensure our public service staff have the understanding and perspective they need to execute the Indigenous priorities that touch upon so much of what we do. We are committed to working together with First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in the spirit of mutual respect and collaboration.”
“The cultural competency training is a proactive initiative by the Ontario government. Premier Wynne and her colleagues in the Ontario Government are once again demonstrating leadership with the introduction of this training. Acting quickly on the TRC recommendations and the Political Accord, Ontario is solidifying its relationship with First Nations. Enabling public servants to become more aware of First Nation perspectives will foster better decision-making and understanding of First Nation issues.”