Education Sector

With the Ontario elections fast approaching, this post aims to serve you as your ultimate ‘one-stop shop’ guide to finding where the three political parties of Ontario stand on key First Nations-specific education concerns and priorities. Kindly re-visit this post regularly as we will be updating it throughout the campaign as new pieces of information become available. To view other sectors, please go back to the main page.

The New Democratic Party released their full party election platform. The Liberal Party have pointed to their 2018 Ontario Budget and the Journey Together for specific commitments to First Nations. The Progressive Conservatives (under the new leadership of Doug Ford) have now released their full election platform too. To view a working summary of the parties’ election platforms, please click here.

*Disclaimer: All wording choices have come directly from the political parties themselves. Chiefs of Ontario is a non-partisan organization and does not endorse any political party

New Democratic Party

  • The overall education (school commitment province-wide) infrastructure commitment is $16 billion over 10-years;
  • Committed to ensuring schools receive infrastructure funding at historic levels, appropriately across the board so that there are no regionally disparities;
  • Committed to ensuring school infrastructure and facilities are utilized as community hubs
  • Will take immediate action to bring community schools up to a reasonable state of repair and address all repairs quickly moving forward;
  • Will continue the work of implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Call to Actions, in particular, Call to Action #62 on establishing mandatory age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools and Treaties, among others as core curriculum for Kindergarten to Grade 12 students;
  • Committed to establishing First Nations-led school boards through legislation to allow First Nations to set up their own school boards;
  • Recognize the importance of Indigenous education for all students, on- and off-reserve. NDP will work with school boards and First Nations to increase Indigenous education activities such as language programs, cultural support programs and ceremonies;
  • Will fund special education according to individual student needs, not overall student numbers.

Liberal Party of Ontario

  • In February 2016, Ontario announced an investment of $80 million over three years in the Family Well-Being program, which aims to reduce the number of Indigenous children and youth in care, the occurrence of violence in families, and improve educational outcomes.
  • As part of The Journey Together, Liberals are supporting families by, for example: Investing $2 million in 2017/18 and then $2.5 million annually to support youth cultural camps in Indigenous communities that build youth leadership and promote awareness of traditional knowledge and languages through daily hands-on activities. The province is working with Indigenous partners to expand youth cultural camps to 12 regional leadership camps and more than 40 community camps by 2019.
  • The Province is investing $11.5 million in upgrades to the First Nations School of Toronto, including four new child care rooms, which will create 64 new licensed child care spaces and one new EarlyON Child and Family Centre.
  • The First Nations School of Toronto aims to empower future leaders with a strong cultural identity as contributing members in a global society. Creating culturally relevant child care and learning spaces at a school that celebrates the rich history, cultures and languages of Indigenous peoples will positively impact students’ self-identity and lead to better academic outcomes.
  • Working with Indigenous and other partners to revise the provincial curriculum to include Indigenous cultures and histories – including information regarding residential schools and everyone’s rights and responsibilities as treaty people in this province. Raising awareness of treaties in Ontario is a way of recognizing the history and contributions of Indigenous partners in Ontario. This is done through the education system and through the promotion of broader awareness of the treaties and the Treaty Relationship and its implications for all people in Ontario.
  • Ontario’s Indigenous Education Strategy has been designed to help improve opportunities for First Nation, Métis and Inuit students – whether they live in remote areas or in urban areas – and to increase the knowledge and awareness of all students about Indigenous histories, cultures and perspectives. Ontario is providing funding of $195 million over the next three years to support key initiatives that will help more First Nation, Métis and Inuit students access high-quality postsecondary education and training.
  • Have collaborated with First Nation, Métis and Inuit partners to develop a revised curriculum for all students that reflects the contributions, cultures and perspectives of Indigenous peoples. The revised curriculum for Grades 4 to 10 will be implemented in all schools starting in September 2018 and reflects the contributions, cultures and perspectives of Indigenous peoples. Ministry of Education is taking steps to ensure that mandatory learning about residential schools, treaties and the role of Indigenous peoples in our history and society is included in the curriculum, in an age and grade appropriate manner.
  • Invest $30 million over two years to expand and enhance the SkillsAdvance Ontario program, which provides training for Indigenous peoples and other underrepresented groups
  • Have enhanced access to postsecondary education for Indigenous peoples, through Indigenous Institutes and by making tuition free for low- to middle-income families. Our transformation of student assistance increased funding for 7,800 Indigenous students between 2016-17 and 2017-18—an increase of 34 per cent
  • Are taking historic steps to give Indigenous peoples control over their postsecondary institutions and to create fairness and opportunity for Indigenous learners by providing $56 M in funding to Indigenous Institutes. Signing historic partnership agreements with the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, Métis Nation of Ontario and Tungasuvvingat Inuit, and the signing of the Master Education Agreement with the Anishinabek Nation, to improve educational outcomes for Indigenous students. Working with Indigenous partners to ensure the curriculum is more inclusive of First Nation, Métis and Inuit histories, cultures, contributions and perspectives. Co-hosting the Gidinwewininaanan, No Lang Indigenous Languages Symposium, and establishing the Indigenous Languages Fund to support community-led projects that promote the revitalization of Indigenous languages.
  • Create an Office of Apprenticeship Opportunity to open the door to skilled trades for visible minorities, Indigenous people, women and people with disabilities.
  • From Leaders in the Legislature 2017, Ontario will “look at” incorporating Indigenous languages as core courses in high school and will follow-up on the recommendations outlined in COO Resolution 38/17 with regards to Special Education.
  • From Leaders in the Legislature 2017, commitment made to seize new investment opportunities to advocate for First Nations education, particularly in STEM fields (i.e. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine).
  • From Leaders in the Legislature 2017, commitment made to ensure that Aboriginal Institutes are a stand-alone pillar of the Ontario’s post-secondary system.

Progressive Conservative Party

*not First Nation specific*

  • Due to Kathleen Wynne’s desire to pursue an ideological agenda, Ontario’s public schools have introduced a new sexual education curriculum, which followed an extreme lack of consultation with parents and teachers. Parents are the most important teachers in a child’s life. A PC government will work closely with parents and teachers to introduce a new sexual education curriculum.
  • Under the watch of Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals, freedom of speech has come under attack on Ontario’s college and university campuses. A PC government will protect free speech on college and university campuses by expanding the mandate of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario’s (HEQCO) to include a complaints and investigations process to evaluate violations of free speech. Post-secondary funding decisions will be tied to the results of the investigations, and, thereby, the willingness of the school administrators to protect free speech for all students and faculty.
  • A PC government will scrap the Liberals’ ‘Discovery Math’ curriculum and inquiry-based learning in Ontario classrooms, and restore effective and proven methods of teaching. A recent report by The Toronto Star revealed that Grade 8 student math scores improved in all provinces except Ontario between 2010 and 2016. A PC government will be returning the education system back to basics, teaching Ontario students the fundamentals of mathematics, and will work towards improving student math scores. This will include making mathematics mandatory in Ontario’s teacher’s college programs.
  • A PC government will reform the current Education Quality and Accountability Office’s (EQAO) standardized testing model to allow for the introduction of a new standardized testing model that will be more effective and more directly tests fundamental math skills.
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