MEDIA ADVISORY: Ontario MPP Peter Tabuns to table thousands of signatures in support of Education for Reconciliation on June 7
(Toronto, ON) –Peter Tabuns (MPP, Toronto-Danforth) will table more than 9,000 signatures collected by KAIROS Canada and the Legacy of Hope Foundation from people who support educating all Ontario students about the history and contributions of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Mr. Tabuns will table the petitions at 3:00 p.m. on June 7 in the Ontario legislature; one week after the Premier formally apologized to Indigenous peoples for the province’s role in residential schools.
Steve Clark (MPP, Leeds—Grenville and Deputy Leader, Official Opposition) tabled several petitions he received from his constituents on May 17.
The petitions call on Ontario to fully implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC)’s Call to Action #62.i. This call urges provincial and territorial governments to ensure that all students, from kindergarten to Grade 12, learn about residential schools, Treaties, and the contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples to Canada. The petition is part of KAIROS’ Education for Reconciliation initiative, which is part of the Winds of Change campaign launched in November to help advance the Calls to Action. The initiative is meant to show that there is strong public support for the implementation of this call.
“We are encouraged by the response to our Education for Reconciliation initiative,” says Jennifer Henry, KAIROS’ Executive Director. “KAIROS and Legacy of Hope have gathered signatures from across Ontario over several months. People in Ontario want their government to implement this call. The initiative’s success is testament to the momentum building in supporting right relations and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. We chose TRC Call to Action #62.i because education has the potential to end in a generation the ignorance of our shared history that is at the root of many challenges we face today.”
At the release of the TRC’s Final Report in December, Justice Murray Sinclair applauded KAIROS and Legacy of Hope for taking immediate action on the Calls to Action and not waiting for governments to respond.
In addition to the petition, KAIROS and Legacy of Hope members are meeting with Ministers and MPPs. In a recent meeting with KAIROS, Ontario Minister of Education Liz Sandals acknowledged receiving numerous letters in support of this initiative.
To commemorate the one-year anniversary of the release of the Calls to Action, and raise awareness of the campaign, KAIROS also partnered with the Assembly of Seven Generations, Canadian Roots Exchange and other organizations to co-host Mass KAIROS Blanket Exercises at government buildings across Canada from May 28-June 5, including at Queen’s Park and on Parliament Hill. The Blanket Exercise on May 30 at Queen’s Park with Canadian Roots Exchange attracted over 200 participants. The KAIROS Blanket Exercise is a unique, experiential teaching tool that tells the history of Canada from the perspective of Indigenous peoples.
While the Ontario government has said it will include information about the Indian residential schools, Treaties, and the contributions of Indigenous peoples to Canada in grade school curriculum, it has not yet committed to covering all grades, including Kindergarten. Nor has the Ontario government communicated a comprehensive plan for training existing teachers, a crucial step in making curriculum changes mandatory.
Ontario is the first province to table the Education for Reconciliation petition. Petitions will be tabled in other provinces and territories in the fall.
About KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
KAIROS is a faith-based social justice organization of eleven Canadian churches and religious organizations. It focuses on Indigenous rights, international human rights and ecological justice. We deliberate on issues of common concern, advocate for social change and join with people of faith and goodwill in action for social transformation. Learn more: www.kairoscanada.org.
Network and Young Adult Coordinator
KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
200-310 Dupont St
Toronto ON M5R 1V9
T: 416.463.5312 ext 222
A/Director of Operations
Legacy of Hpe Foundation
291 Dalhousie Street, Suite 205
Ottawa, ON K1N 7E5
T: 613.237.4806 ext 301