42nd Parliament, 1st Session

L266B - Wed 19 May 2021 / Mer 19 mai 2021



Wednesday 19 May 2021 Mercredi 19 mai 2021

Private Members’ Public Business

Equity Education for Young Ontarians Act, 2021 / Loi de 2021 sur l’éducation en équité pour les jeunes de l’Ontario


Report continued from volume A.


Private Members’ Public Business

Equity Education for Young Ontarians Act, 2021 / Loi de 2021 sur l’éducation en équité pour les jeunes de l’Ontario

Madame Collard moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 287, An Act to amend the Education Act with respect to equity education and the Education Equity Secretariat Initiatives Branch / Projet de loi 287, Loi modifiant la Loi sur l’éducation en ce qui concerne l’éducation en équité et la Direction des initiatives du Secrétariat de l’équité en matière d’éducation.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Pursuant to standing order 101, you will have 12 minutes for your presentation. At the end of the 12 minutes’ opening remarks, the debate will then proceed with members of the various parties speaking in rotation.

I now turn it back over to you to begin your debate.

Mme Lucille Collard: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for your patience. It’s my first time, so I appreciate your patience.

I am grateful to rise today to speak to all my colleagues in this House about Bill 287, the Equity Education for Young Ontarians Act. To begin, I would like to explain today what this bill means to me and why I, a white woman who holds privilege and cannot experience racism, am presenting a bill to fight racism.

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that I was raised by a father who was racist. He would regularly make racist remarks, and I vividly remember how uneasy it always made me feel. What’s worse is that there was no challenging my father on his beliefs either. The reality is that the impacts of colonialism and racism were certainly not topics we discussed at home, at school or with friends. Instead, I learned about the history of slavery and the horrifying treatment of racialized communities through movies. Had it not been for outside forces opening my eyes, I may have grown up sheltered within a very prejudiced environment.

I left home at 16 to live my life by my own values, and one of those values is to always fight injustice. That is part of why I became a lawyer and also why I’m here today. Over the last few years, I have watched the rise in racist incidents, feeling as powerless and as outraged as I was when I was a teenager. Now, having teenagers of my own, I see and I hear that they are feeling the same level of distrust I do. We also know that the fear that we feel witnessing these incidents is nowhere near the level of fear and danger that racialized and Indigenous communities experience. I recognize that it is a privilege in itself that I can stand here today and ask for this support. So many Black, Indigenous and people of colour in our province have been fighting and calling for action for generations. Now that I am elected, it is my responsibility as an ally to these communities to do something about it.

Before getting into the bill itself, I would like to speak for a moment about how this proposal came to be. Last summer, a university student named Parnika Raj reached out to me to discuss a petition she had created. Her petition was posted on the change.org website—it still is—and it demanded the implementation of a mandatory course on race and ethnicity in Ontario high schools. This petition has collected over 66,500 signatures, and that number continues to grow.

I am grateful to all who have shared their stories with me about their experiences with our police forces and with our governmental system. Leading up to introducing this bill, I consulted with many experts and I heard from all kinds of perspectives. One of those opportunities was when I held a forum on reform of the police and justice system. Hosted by city councillor Rawlson King, a leader in the Ottawa Black community, over 200 participants came together to hear from six speakers and discuss a way forward. It was a deeply valuable conversation between experts, members of the Ottawa Police Services Board, local church leaders, community members, and passionate spokespeople from the BIPOC community who spoke eloquently about what racism feels like to those who experience it.

A common thread woven through all of the consultations and meetings was that it is important that we openly talk about racism, even though those conversations may be difficult, just like the ones on human trafficking. We need to really listen to the calls for change, and conversations need to be framed appropriately, informed from reliable sources, and respectful.

This bill proposes two amendments to the Education Act. The first change is to include in the Ontario school curriculum the teaching of the history of colonization and its impact on the rights of Indigenous and racialized people; the ongoing racial and social inequities in Ontario, including, in particular, disparities in Ontarians’ experience with Ontario’s health care, justice and education systems; and finally, how students can contribute to building an inclusive and equitable Ontario.

These topics would be addressed from junior kindergarten through grade 12 in an age-appropriate manner. The content for these topics would need to be developed in collaboration with local, non-governmental persons and organizations who have specialized knowledge in these topics, as well as groups representing Ontarians who are Black, Indigenous or persons of colour.

A crucial part of this process will be that teachers and other staff of the board receive adequate training and support to appropriately bring up these subjects in the classroom. This is an approach to ensure that Indigenous and racialized members of our communities feel seen and heard.

The second change proposed in this bill is with respect to the Education Equity Secretariat within the Ministry of Education. Bill 287 proposes that school boards report annually on various findings regarding systemic barriers that affect Indigenous and racialized pupils and staff. The Education Equity Secretariat’s initiatives branch would play an active role in using that information to do better. Using the findings, the director of the Education Equity Secretariat’s initiatives branch could then make recommendations to the minister to inform policy development to address issues identified in these reports.

As of right now, there are requirements in place to prioritize equity within the education system, but the implementation of these requirements within the 72 school boards in Ontario varies in terms of strategy and in terms of commitment. Having school boards reporting and exchanging on best practices would yield better outcomes.

Every child has the right to an education free of systemic barriers and discrimination. By ensuring that we have comprehensive reporting, publicly available recommendations for improvement and concrete action on eliminating barriers from the education system, we can create a transparent and effective path towards eliminating systemic inequities.

I am a strong believer that society can be improved by working at its roots, and the roots of our society begin in our schools, because that is where our young minds are developed. We all experience good and bad influences through our upbringing, our parents and our families, whether we realize it or not, but we are also deeply influenced by our schools, our peers and our educators. While it may be more difficult to change how parents raise their children, we do have an opportunity to have a positive influence in schools.

Our youth want these conversations. They want these discussions. They have communicated their anger and their demands for change, especially through social media. But social media can also be a space of confusion, misinformation and hostility. Our children deserve a secure space to discuss these issues with educators who are equipped to provide them with factual and trauma-informed information. The classroom can provide this forum.


Equity education can have an impact even further beyond the classroom as well. We know that racialized communities are disproportionately affected by poverty, human trafficking, unsafe housing, dangerous working conditions and by so many other difficult and dangerous circumstances. By working to eliminate prejudice in the education system, we can eliminate the barriers in our society that can lead to these circumstances that no one should have to face.

When youth grow up with prejudice, they go on to bring those biases into the workplace in all areas of our society. They also go on to raise their own children with the same bias. Equity education has the potential to have a ripple effect on all the other areas in which racialized and Indigenous peoples experience systemic racism. It’s time to address racism and prejudice where it starts, and the best space we have to do that is within our schools.

Last week, the government announced that they would be putting resources into fighting anti-Asian racism through the education system, and I was very encouraged by that decision. That tells me that the members opposite understand the importance of tackling racism through our schools and that there is a willingness to act. I recognize that there is so much more to be done in all sectors to truly fight racism and discrimination in this process; the work does not stop here by any means. This is but one crucial step in the way forward that we can take together immediately.

I urge every member in this House to show Ontarians that they have listened to racialized and Indigenous communities in this province and around the world. I urge them to stand with the members of our communities who have been fighting for the equity that they have always deserved and who shouldn’t have to go through that fight on their own. Support for this bill is support for concrete action toward a better future for our province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Further debate?

Mr. Kaleed Rasheed: Speaker, as a firm believer in parliamentary democracy, it is an honour for me to stand in this chamber and debate Bill 287, the Equity Education for Young Ontarians Act, put forth by my colleague the member for Ottawa–Vanier.

Speaker, I want to be clear that our government welcomes the spirit of Bill 287. It is our responsibility and role to safeguard the success and well-being of all students, inclusive of all races, ethnicities, faiths, orientations and socio-economic backgrounds. All students must feel welcome, safe and respected in school.

So I’m proud to tell you, under the strong leadership of the Premier and the Minister of Education, our government is already taking action to promote equity in our education system, and much of this work is already under way. In other words, Speaker, it would be counterproductive for us to pass legislation that largely duplicates much of what our government is already doing. For that reason, I urge my colleagues to vote against the bill presented by the member for Ottawa–Vanier.

Speaker, our government has shown through decisive action that we are committed to supporting inclusive learning through the curriculum and beyond, providing opportunities for students to learn about communities and our collective responsibilities for inclusion and anti-racism.

Let me provide some background. On July 9, 2020, we announced bold new changes to the education system that will help break down barriers for Indigenous, Black and racialized students and provide all students with an equal opportunity to succeed. Following a year of consultation and community engagement, our government has taken immediate, concrete action for students, families and communities, including in the areas of suspensions and anti-discrimination policy, de-streaming and professional development.

Our government is committed to upholding and promoting human rights, combatting racism and supporting all students in their efforts to realize their full potential. For example, Speaker, we are driving transformational changes by eliminating so-called discretionary suspensions for students in junior kindergarten to grade 3. Evidence shows that suspension and expulsion practices result in an overrepresentation of students who are Black, Indigenous, male, LGBTQ2S, children in care and those with special education needs and disabilities. And we are starting the process to end early streaming into applied academic courses to help ensure that all students have an equal opportunity to succeed. In fact, my colleague the Minister of Education has an important announcement on de-streaming that he will announce very soon.

Our government has also taken swift action to ensure that schools and school boards remain places free of discrimination and prejudice. We have seen this in my own region of Peel, where a local director of education was quickly removed from his position following an investigation, allowing for a new supervisor to be in place who will continue to advance equity, confront discrimination and bring forward inclusion and opportunity for all students. Additionally, to ensure that students can feel accepted in a discrimination-free classroom, the government will be strengthening sanctions for behaviour and remarks of a racist nature by an educator. We will also be expanding training for education staff, trustees and senior school board staff, and propose to dedicate a full day of professional development to human rights, anti-racism and anti-discrimination training before the beginning of the instructional school year.

Speaker, I wish to draw attention to a couple of key investments that will make a big difference for our students.

Through the Grants for Student Needs, we are providing $59 million to help school boards implement suspension policies, including for the hiring of professional staff and implementing programs to help educators avoid out-of-school suspensions. The government has committed to providing over $6.8 million to support the Black and Indigenous grad coach programs, which provide wraparound supports for students who are at risk of not graduating. I will remind my honourable colleagues that we are also accelerating data collection and publicizing the data for accountability.

I hope the member for Ottawa–Vanier knows that our curriculum already contains mandatory learning opportunities related to anti-racism and anti-discrimination, and the promotion of inclusion as early as kindergarten, and that we have also already launched the revised First Nation, Métis and Inuit studies curriculum for students in grades 9 to 12. This is comprised of a suite of 10 secondary school courses that focus on Indigenous cultures and offer pathways to post-secondary education. This curriculum was developed with Indigenous partners and will increase all students’ learning about First Nation, Métis and Inuit perspectives, cultures, contributions and histories in areas such as art, literature, law, humanities, politics and history.

This curriculum will provide opportunities for Indigenous students to positively see themselves reflected in their learning through a strengthened Indigenous voice and perspective. We are also committed to working with our Indigenous partners to ensure that Indigenous perspectives and content are present across many other courses that students take.

Through these measures and investments, we are working to build a better, more inclusive and equitable education system that supports success for all students.

I will add that this issue is not one that is appropriately dealt with through an amendment to the Education Act.


Speaker, our government is committed to ensuring that Ontario’s schools are safe, welcoming and inclusive for all students and, as I have made clear, we are taking decisive action to make that happen.

The member for Ottawa–Vanier’s Bill 287 is certainly well intentioned, but it seeks to duplicate much of what our government is already accomplishing, which means that passing it would only prove to be counterproductive.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Further debate?

Ms. Marit Stiles: It is a privilege to join the debate today. I want to thank the member for Ottawa–Vanier for giving us this opportunity to talk about the challenges facing Black, Indigenous and racialized students in Ontario schools, and the very urgent need to address them. Ongoing systemic racism in our education system harms students. It harms school staff. It hurts communities. Generations continue to live with that trauma.

When you have a system that is chronically underfunded, the way the Conservative and Liberal governments have underfunded our education system, combatting those structural inequities becomes harder and harder. Large class sizes make it harder for students to seek out support and for educators to give them the attention they need. Cuts to programs that support at-risk youth, cancelling Indigenous curriculum-writing sessions to save money, and plotting to fire 10,000 teachers from our system, forcing students into online learning—where does that leave students who are already struggling?

While I really appreciate the attention to the issues, this bill seems to follow a little bit the steps of previous Liberal initiatives. The sentiment is there, but what we’re missing is the commitment to meaningful consultation, to action, to accountability. That could be stronger here. This isn’t something that needs to be relegated to a subcommittee within the Ministry of Education. The solutions are not secret:

—listen to the students, to their families, to Black, Indigenous and racialized education workers;

—an end to streaming, with supports. An equity secretariat exists already, but there are only two people working there

—ending disproportionately harsh discipline directed at Black and Indigenous boys;

—stopping the adultification bias against Black girls;

—forcefully challenging racism at all levels—yes;

—updating curriculum, and ensuring that process is led by people with lived experience.

These issues were raised with me just days ago by BYR Youth, which is an incredible Black-youth-led organization in York region. As I said to those young people, words are just words; they have to be backed up by solid commitment to significant change and stable funding—real action.

These are also the commitments that New Democrats are offering and will continue to demand as we push for a public education system that provides students with real hope and the best opportunity to thrive and build a great future.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Further debate?

Mr. John Fraser: I want to thank my colleague from Ottawa–Vanier for putting this bill forward, and for her very personal account in speaking to the bill and about her desire for justice—because at the end of the day, that’s what this bill is all about. It will help children understand the realities of racial and social inequities in this province. It will also help them understand bias.

Bias is not something they arrive at school with. Bias is something that is built and that grows, and if we’re not addressing it right away—as people get older, they have biases. We’re all susceptible to bias. Bias is the enemy of justice. And it’s only by the process of self-examination, and having the tools to know how to do that and to know what the risks are, that people will be able to do that self-examination, so we can eliminate racism, systemic racism, bias in our communities.

So I want to thank the member for bringing it forward.

And I just want to reiterate that I’m disappointed to hear that the government is not going to vote for this or support it, even to get it past second reading.

This bill is about justice and it’s about bias, and it’s about giving young people the tools to understand that, so they can eliminate that through a process of self-examination, and then, later on, an examination of the institutions that exist around them.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Further debate?

Ms. Andrea Khanjin: My colleague mentioned already about this private member’s bill, that the government has already done so much work towards this issue, but there’s obviously more that needs to be done, which is why I just wanted to elaborate on some of our efforts.

Before I get there, I wanted to mention that when I came to Canada and I entered into our public school system, no one knew in my school what a refugee was. So it shows you that it doesn’t matter your faith or the colour of your skin, there are many different stigmas in our educational system. But since then, we recognize World Refugee Day. We talk about Jewish Heritage Month. My family is half-Jewish, half-Russian Orthodox. We talk about Asian heritage. All these things are incorporated in our curriculum. Schools have not just Christmas books around Christmastime, they also have Hanukkah books. They recognize Ramadan. We’ve made it a long way.

This government is building on a lot of those efforts, whether it’s anti-racism and anti-hate grants that we’ve put out outside of the school system. We’re building on those efforts. Whether it’s aligning our Grants for Student Needs to help those students, whether it’s helping Black students, Indigenous students graduate by investing money, we are there because we believe in equal opportunity, the rule of law and pluralism, and that everyone belongs in our school system.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Further debate?

Ms. Laura Mae Lindo: Thank you to the member for bringing this important private member’s bill to our attention. It’s given us an opportunity to speak once again about the kinds of amendments that we can make to the Education Act to address the root causes of racism.

I’m going to start—I’m actually going to acknowledge the member starting with real talk, that’s how I always call it, being honest about where this came from, the kinds of experiences that you’ve had and the importance of doing this work. So I’m going to do the same thing.

As a Black woman in an anti-Black education system, it was very difficult to have a gap in the history classes, to never be seen in history, to never see yourself reflected in the curriculum. I went through the French immersion system, and it was most disturbing to get into my undergraduate degree and find out that I had been taught about Indigenous people, and the word that was taught to us was “sauvage.” I grew up in an entire system where “savage” was the name used in our school system and in our textbooks to talk about Indigenous people.

As my mummy says—my parents are from Jamaica—I tell you that to tell you this: Unless we ensure that there is adequate education for the teachers, we will end up in more problems, because no matter what you do to change the curriculum, teachers need to become experts in what it is that they’re teaching. So one of the pieces that I would strongly encourage all of us to think about is ways in which we can amend teacher education as well and ensure that they are prepared to teach these classes.

The other thing that I would also recommend is that we pay very, very close attention to the kinds of experiences of racism that students have to navigate on a regular basis. For many Black students, they hear the N-word when they go to school nearly every day. I’ve had a number of students talk to me about that.

And while adjusting the curriculum is one step, I find it disturbing that the government is saying to us, “We’ve done enough, so we’re not going to do any more.” With that being the case, I want to apologize on behalf of the government for looking at something that’s saying, “Let’s take a bigger step forward,” and saying to you, “No, no, we’ve done enough.” From one Black person who hopes that we would keep working to make equity and inclusion a reality in the school system, hearing that was very disturbing to me.

One way that we could strengthen this is to amend the language for the director in the Education Equity Secretariat. Where it says that he or she “may make recommendations to the minister,” if they “shall” make recommendations, then we know for sure those recommendations will happen. I think, to the point of my colleague, that’s where they were saying that sometimes under the Liberal legislation in the past, the language has been loose enough that the government has not had to do the work.

So let’s strengthen the legislation. Let’s ensure that the government does concrete steps to bring inclusion. And let’s keep working collaboratively to end racial inequities in our school system.


The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Further debate?

Mr. Michael Coteau: I was a bit taken aback when I was listening to the members opposite talk about what they’ve done to ensure equity and to fight against systemic racism in education over the last couple of years. I’ll tell you what the government has actually done: The government cut money, I think half the money that went to the ministry responsible for Indigenous relations. They cut money to the Ontario Arts Council. They cut $25 million that went to at-risk youth.

In fact, the Anti-Racism Directorate, that put out a strategy, said that they were supposed to collect data by now in our schools. Mr. Speaker, back in 2006, I moved a motion to collect race-based data at the Toronto District School Board. That was years ago. In 2015, we started to build a plan. They’ve had the plan and they haven’t done it.

But worst of all, this government says in this Legislature today that they’re doing so much. Only two years ago, a year and a half ago, the Premier stood in this House and said that systemic racism didn’t even exist in this province. And yet they’re standing there saying that they’re actually doing something.

How can you have a government that has a leader who didn’t admit that systemic racism actually existed in 2019? How could they stand up? Do you know what they do? They pass documents over to their members and they just read through those documents: “We’re doing this: Jewish Heritage Day, Black History Month”—this and that. We’re saying we want more. We’re saying that we want the education system to identify ways to break down the barriers, and this government has a responsibility to do just that.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Further debate?

Mr. Mike Harris: Certainly, I don’t ever want to hear the NDP in the province of Ontario apologizing for what the government is doing, because this government, under the leadership of our Premier, Doug Ford, is doing fantastic things for this province, and we’re going to continue down a very strong path that we were elected to do.

I’m going to read a couple of things here that come from the region of Waterloo, Mr. Speaker. I know we heard from the member from Kitchener Centre earlier, and I didn’t hear her talk about any of this. This is directly from our school boards.

The Waterloo Region District School Board—these are the things that are happening already under the leadership of our education minister: “The Equity Working Team” works with “staff to identify ways to bolster strengths and mitigate barriers faced by students and staff ... to foster an anti-oppressive, anti-racist, and inclusive culture....”

“The Indigenous Learning Team (ILT) is composed of the Equity and Inclusion Officer with an Indigenous focus and several teacher consultants” and “works to build the capacity ... to support Indigenous students and staff ... to understand Indigenous histories ... and ways of knowing.” These things are part of the truth and reconciliation calls to action. That’s the Waterloo district school board.

I will say also, Mr. Speaker, my five kids—five children—attend the Waterloo district school board.

From the Catholic school board, Speaker, the equity, diversity and learning committee “is engaged in the development and implementation of activities that build the capacity of” the Waterloo Catholic District School Board “to increase the integration equity-based and inclusive practices, and to improve academic outcomes....”

Professional development opportunities are available for educators, including leadership for equity and diversity—this is the LEAD Academy—the Equity Trainers Collaborative, and also the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Collaborative Inquiry Summer Institute, where teachers and staff from the Waterloo Catholic District School Board have an opportunity to go and participate in those programs.

So, for the members opposite to stand up here and say that our government isn’t doing anything when it comes to diversity and inclusion—I’d love to hear why they aren’t talking about these things that are already happening in our school boards, Mr. Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Further debate.

Mr. Sol Mamakwa: Meegwetch, Speaker. I’m pleased to speak on the member from Ottawa–Vanier’s bill, the Equity Education for Young Ontarians Act, which would mandate the teaching of colonization and its impact on Indigenous and racialized people. Speaker, it’s important. The topic is important. I thank the member for bringing forward this issue.

I was kind of floored at the beginning where she, as a white woman, as a white person, was talking about and acknowledging colonialism, acknowledging racism. I never hear that in this place, so I thank her for that.

On the other side, you hear, “We’re doing it already. We’re doing the work that we need to do.” But I remember specifically when this government came into power back in the summer of 2018, the first thing that they did was cut Indigenous curriculum-writing. That should be a marker of where it’s at. We cannot talk about colonialism as a history lesson. It’s happening in front of our eyes every day. You guys don’t live it, and I know we live it on a daily basis. Our history should not be glossed over using the blanket term of “colonialism.” When I heard the other side speak, they were saying, “All lives matter.” That’s what they were saying, without really spelling it out.

I think we need to ensure that we talk about Indian residential schools, the Sixties Scoop. I know in Kiiwetinoong, most of our communities have no high schools. People at the age of 13 and 14 leave home and travel hundreds of kilometres to Sioux Lookout, to Thunder Bay to enter grade 9. There’s a book called Seven Fallen Feathers. It’s about racism, death and hard truths in a northern city. Coming to school—there are seven high school students that died in that system. This is structural racism that puts kids at risk, and multiple young people die.

I would like to see that we all work together to address the whole education system and make it inclusive and equitable, no matter where you live in Ontario. Young people, students are the change.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Further debate?

Mr. Stephen Blais: It’s an honour and a privilege to speak in favour of Bill 287 and my colleague from Ottawa–Vanier. It’s, frankly, very difficult to follow the member from Kiiwetinoong or the member from Don Valley speaking about their lived experiences with racism and their ongoing experience with colonization.

It’s been 20 or 25 years since I’ve been in school, but as the member from Kitchener Centre mentioned, I remember being taught modern Western civilizations in high school, about the colonization of Canada from the point of view of settling, of taming the wild frontier. We were never taught about the impacts that had. We were taught about the decolonization of Africa and Asia after World War II, but we weren’t taught about the root causes of that, the reasons for that, the race for Africa in the 19th century to exploit the continent, to exploit the natural resources, to exploit the people.

The government likes to talk about refugee day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day etc., and for sure, those are important. But when I hear my son talk about what he’s being taught in grade 6 and the very surface level that the system is going into to talk about these issues, it’s astonishing, Mr. Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Further debate?

Ms. Sara Singh: It’s an honour to rise here today and contribute to the debate on Bill 287, and I want to thank the member from Ottawa–Vanier for bringing this very important piece of legislation forward and for having the courage to share your story with us today to help us understand why this bill is important.

Mr. Speaker, it’s extremely disappointing to hear government members say that enough is being done. A few weeks ago, our colleague from Kiiwetinoong brought forward the Inherent Right to Safe Drinking Water bill in order to ensure that Indigenous people in this province had access to clean drinking water. During my remarks, I shared that not once through our education system were we ever taught about the impacts of colonization and how systemic discrimination continues to limit people’s access to clean drinking water. Not once were we taught about the impacts of colonization and how Europeans and colonization sought to underdevelop places like Africa, and the impacts that this has on even me standing here today as a settler to this country—how colonization impacts every single one of us.


I know that members across are chuckling under their masks, because they don’t understand, fundamentally, what this bill seeks to do. It is important that we educate future generations to understand what the legacy of colonialism is, not only here in Canada but across the world, because those impacts are what have created the unjust society that we currently live in, that continue to perpetuate systemic racism and discrimination in all its forms. If we don’t teach it, people cannot unlearn the behaviours and the bias they have that continue to cause discrimination.

I’m from a community—one of the most diverse communities in this province, Speaker—in Peel region. Last year, we brought forward a motion to help empower our educators and our school board to address systemic racism in the Peel region, because we knew that Black, Indigenous, racialized students were being streamed, were being called names in places that were supposed to be safe—their classrooms—by the very people who were there to educate them. As my colleague from Kitchener Centre said, we also need to take this a step further: not only educate young people, but also educate our educators.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Further debate? Further debate?

The member from Ottawa–Vanier now has two minutes for a response.

Mme Lucille Collard: I want to thank all the colleagues who spoke to the bill. I also appreciate my colleagues from my caucus being here to support me. I know everybody is very busy doing things.

Of course, I’m really disappointed. I always appreciate real talk. I kind of poured my heart into this. I’ve been working at it for months and I know that there’s much, much support in the community for this bill, so I was hoping—I had my heart set on some support. I’m happy to have some; I would have liked to have more support.

To the point that was made and some examples that were drawn from school boards doing things, it’s true. During my consultation, I met with people and I did get examples of stuff that was being done through school boards. The problem is that there’s no consistency, no mandatory measures. There’s no commitment. Some school boards are doing a lot and doing great and putting a lot of attention and resources into it. But some others are not doing much. Until we make them, it’s not going to happen, so we’re going to have disparities throughout the province. We’re going to continue to see racism, because kids won’t have the opportunity to have these real conversations in the classroom, to talk about it. And they are creating these conversations, Mr. Speaker. I’ve heard it from them.

And this was a wish from my kids. They’re young adults and teenagers, and they think because I’m elected that I can change the world. I can certainly try, and that’s what I’m here for. But they told me, “You have a responsibility to address racism. It’s too important.” The events that happened over the last year broke their hearts. I had conversations with my daughters where we were tearing up because we understand and we feel the pain, and we want to do something about it.

So, thank you very much. I’m looking—

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Thank you. The time provided for private members’ public business has now expired.

Ms. Collard has moved second reading of Bill 287, An Act to amend the Education Act with respect to equity education and the Education Equity Secretariat Initiatives Branch.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I heard a no.

All those in favour of the motion will please say “aye.”

All those opposed to the motion will pleased say “nay.”

In my opinion, the nays have it.

A recorded division being required, the vote on this item of private members’ public business will be deferred until the next proceeding of deferred votes.

Second reading vote deferred.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): All matters relating to private members’ public business having been completed, this House now stands adjourned until 9 o’clock tomorrow morning.

The House adjourned at 1845.