ONTARIO – It’s a new year, with some new rules and regulations now in effect across the province. This includes new laws about the collection of race-based data in Ontario schools.
The provincial government, in compliance with the Anti-Racism Act 2017 and the Anti-Racism Data Standards, now requires all school boards in Ontario to collect race-based data. Data will be collected in relation to students’ academic performance, special education received, suspensions, and expulsions.
Additionally, school boards are required to record data about the decision of school principals to refuse to admit students to a school or classroom.
This comes after decades of parents, students, and advocates calling for change in the province’s schools.
“The fact that the collection of disaggregated race-based data was mandated in 2017, and still a majority of the 72 school boards in Ontario have delayed in its collection. The lack of urgency by school officials is proof of their impotence in tackling the inequities present,” Stephen Mensah wrote in a tweet from 2020.
Several Ontario school boards, including the Toronto District School Board, have already been collecting race-based data for years.
Data Collected by Parents of Black Children
Meantime, an advocacy group called Parents of Black Children (PoBC) spent over a year collecting race-based data on anti-Black racism in Ontario schools.
“We know that regardless of where Black children live they are facing anti-Black racism in the education system,” reads a PoBC report, adding that data shows that Black children face additional barriers in education.
Released in 2022, the “Systems abuse of Black students within Ontario’s education system” report details anti-Black incidents in schools across the province.
The Toronto District School Board accounted for 20.1% of reported cases of racism, and York Region District School Board made up 9.8%. The board with the third most reports is Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario with 9.3%, followed by York District School Board with 6.7%.
About 24% of cases PoBC have logged have occurred within Catholic school boards, and the report says they’ve been the site of “many of the more egregious instances of harm to Black students.”
The collection of race-based data in school boards across Ontario was also one of the ten demands put forward during Toronto’s March for Black Students in 2020.
How do you feel about the new regulations? Let us know in the comments!
With files from Imani Walker