Winds of Change campaign update: Education for reconciliation initiative picks up steam in Ontario
Like the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples 20 years ago, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada identified education as key to reconciliation.
Last November KAIROS and the Legacy of Hope Foundation launched the Education for Reconciliation (E4R) initiative as part of the KAIROS Winds of Change campaign.
The E4R initiative focuses on Call to Action 62.i which urges all provinces and territories to make age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada a mandatory education requirement for all students in Kindergarten to Grade Twelve.
Over the past few months the KAIROS network in Ontario has collected over 10,000 signatures, worked with MPPs, and collaborated with other groups to organize education and advocacy events, including a Mass KAIROS Blanket Exercise at the Ontario legislature in June. This week, a question related to the campaign will be submitted in the legislature, more petitions will be tabled, and KAIROS staff will meet with the Minister of Education’s staff.
This remarkable commitment to reconciliation has helped maintain the momentum for positive change generated by the TRC.
Order Paper Question: A Call to make a Commitment!
On October 31 NDP MPP Catherine Fife will submit this Order Paper Question to the Minister of Education:
Can the Ministry of Education provide an update on the work completed to date and a timeline for future work to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Call to Action 62.1 regarding the development and implementation of mandatory age-appropriate curriculum for Kindergarten to Grade Twelve on Treaties, Aboriginal peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada, and the history and legacy of residential schools?”
The government has 28 days to respond and when it does we’ll need your help once again to keep the government’s attention focused on this issue.
Meeting the new Minister of Education
Not long after Guelph KAIROS and KAIROS staff met with then Education Minister Liz Sandals (Guelph), a cabinet shuffle saw the Honorable Mitzie Hunter moved into that position. On November 1 KAIROS will meet with the Assistant to the Minister of Education to clarify the Ministry’s plans and to press for the full and timely implementation of Call to Action 62.i.
Petitions Supported By All Parties
In May and June, the KAIROS network in Ontario worked with elected representatives from all parties to raise awareness of the E4R initiative by tabling petitions in the Ontario Legislative Assembly. Petitions, were tabled by PC MPP Steve Clark, Liberal MPPs Ann Hoggarth and Daiene Vernile, and NDP MPPs Peter Tabuns and France Gélinas.
According to the rules of the Ontario legislature, the government has 24 “sitting days” to respond in writing to petitions. Regrettably, when the government prorogued parliament in early September all outstanding petitions were archived and the government was no longer required to respond. KAIROS will re-start the 24 “sitting days” clock on November 2 when NDP MPP Peter Tabuns tables more petitions. Stay tuned for the official government response.