Ontario’s Education Equity Action Plan, a new three-year strategy which aims to reduce systemic barriers and ensure that all students in Ontario can reach their full potential, was released on Thursday by Education Minister Mitzie Hunter.
The minister described the plan as ” a powerful blueprint that will strengthen our publicly funded education system.”
The plan will address unintentional consequences of existing structures, policies, programs and practices that may disadvantage certain student populations, including racialized students, students experiencing poverty, Indigenous students and newcomers to Canada.
It will also introduce a renewed approach to grade nine in which all students are better able to explore pathways to work, college, apprenticeship, and university and identify and address disparities in suspension, expulsion, and exclusion rates amongst certain student populations.
Ensuring equity is one of the goals for Ontario’s early years and education system, along with achieving excellence, promoting well-being, and enhancing public confidence.
In the 2017 Budget, $49 million over the next three years was identified to develop and strengthen programs that support and promote student well-being.
Ontario committed over $7 million in 2017-18 to support the implementation of the Equity Action Plan which builds on the work the ministry and education partners have done since the introduction of the Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy in 2009.
“Together with our renewed focus on achievement and well-being, the school experience of Ontario students will be enhanced,” Hunter said.
Patrick Case, Hunter’s Assistant Deputy Minister and head of the Education Equity Secretariat, said “we are already at work, with partners in education, on implementing parts of this plan.
” I believe that the time is right and based on conversations I have had with community organizations, I can sense an excitement and a renewed vigour about tackling some persistently difficult issues in our publicly funded education system, together.”