On June 27, 2023, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) released its Anti-Black Racism in Education Roundtables: What We Heard Report. The roundtables held in April 2023, provided a space for students and duty-holders in the education sector to share solution-focused and action-oriented recommendations.
For the next action, the OHRC is calling on key partners and stakeholders in education for written submissions on concrete and practical solutions to address anti-Black racism in Ontario’s publicly funded education system. This step is to develop an ongoing dialogue with those key partners and stakeholders, and gather additional information, including actions for implementation, to empower, and to hold duty-holders accountable.
This engagement process is designed to connect with individuals with past and present lived experiences, and organizations with knowledge and expertise in anti-Black racism in education. Subsequently, the OHRC plans to publish an Action Plan that incorporates insights from the roundtables, victim impact statements, submissions, and public outreach. This Action Plan will include findings and future actions for implementation.
The OHRC has compiled a Compendium of Recommendations, consisting of 83 community reports spanning 75 years with over 190 recommendations related to anti-Black racism. The Compendium of Recommendations and the victim impact statements highlight that although some recommendations were adopted, substantively, over the many decades, anti-Black racism in education and the attendant problems not only persist but also have worsened. And that is what makes the work so critical. The Compendium of Recommendations builds on experiences and lessons learned in the communities most affected by racism and discrimination. This document will continue to inform the discussions with education and community partners and serve as a foundation for the development of a solution-focused Action Plan with short and long-term goals.
Key Engagement Questions
The OHRC wants to hear from community organizations, researchers, and people with lived experience on concrete and practical solutions to address anti-Black racism in education.
The call for written submissions has been posted on OHRC’s website and social media and has been circulated via an email blast to stakeholders and partners.
The following questions, which focus on key themes on the impact of anti-Black racism on students, educators, parents, and communities, have been developed to guide you in your written submission. Please respond to the extent that you find suitable or prefer.
1. Successful Pathways for Students and Parents
1.1. What successful pathways have Black students and Black parents used to navigate the education system to increase positive outcomes?
1.2. How can schools and education systems better engage with and support Black parents in their children’s education? How can they ensure that Black students have access to the resources and support they need to succeed?
2. Student Achievement and Black Joy
2.1. How can schools better support Black student achievement and prioritize Black Joy? What are some examples of practices or policies that have successfully supported both?
2.2. How can educators and schools foster a sense of community and belonging for Black students?
2.3. How can schools and education systems measure and evaluate Black student achievement and Black Joy?
3. Professional Development and Educator Support
3.1. What role can educators, guidance counsellors, non-teaching staff, administrators and trustees play in creating and promoting equitable and inclusive work cultures within their schools?
3.2. What examples of successful professional development programs or initiatives have effectively addressed issues of equity, human rights, anti-bias, anti-racism, and anti-Black racism?
3.3. How can boards ensure that professional development and educator support initiatives are sustainable and ongoing, lead to changes in organizational culture, and are not just one-off events or initiatives?
3.4. How can educators build networks and support systems that navigate safety and equity issues within the education system?
4. Performance Indicators and Outcomes
4.1. What strategies have been identified and implemented to address and improve disproportionalities related to literacy, graduation, and numeracy rates for Black students? To what extent are these strategies achieving the desired outcome?
4.2. What role do educators, guidance counsellors, non-teaching staff, administrators and trustees play in addressing and eliminating disproportionalities for Black students?
5. Data Collection
5.1. What data is currently being collected? What data should school boards collect?
5.2. How can data collection be used as a tool for reducing discrimination?
5.3. What monitoring and evaluation standards should be put in place to ensure that data collection and monitoring efforts are effective, sustainable, and responsive to the needs of Black students and families?
6. Enforcement and Accountability Mechanisms
6.1. What is accountability?
6.2. What accountability already exists for schools and school boards? How is oversight for accountability implemented?
6.3. To what extent and how should accountability measures or issues be reported to the public? And by whom?
7. Operational Drivers
7.1. What operational solutions can be implemented to improve outcomes for
7.2. What mechanisms or structures must be adapted or created to better support Black students and families? What are they, and how can they be implemented?
7.3. How can all stakeholders (e.g., educators, administrators, parents, and community organizations) work together to implement these operational solutions?
8. Relationships, Policy, and Advocacy Drivers
8.1. How can relationships between various stakeholders in the education space be improved to promote information flow and facilitate the identification and implementation of solutions to anti-Black racism in education?
8.2. What are the potential barriers to advocating for and implementing policy change to address anti-Black racism in education and improve outcomes for Black students, and how can these barriers be overcome?
8.3. What role can community organizations and advocacy groups play in promoting equity and inclusion in education, and how can they work collaboratively with educators, administrators, and other stakeholders to effect change and improve outcomes for Black students?
How to submit written submissions
Individuals and organizations are welcome to provide their written submissions to the OHRC via email or mail at:
or by mail to:
Ontario Human Rights Commission
180 Dundas St W, Suite 900
Toronto, ON M7A 2G5
Below are a few resources to provide additional context on the OHRC’s anti-Black racism in education initiative, which may help inform written submissions.
1. Compendium of Recommendations:
2. What We Heard Report