Ontario’s education minister says the province is introducing mandatory learning on the contributions of Black Canadians to history courses in Grades 7, 8 and 10.
Stephen Lecce said Black history is Canadian history and adding it as a mandatory part of the curriculum will ensure the next generation will better appreciate the sacrifices and commitments Black Canadians have made.
“We are committed to ensuring every child, especially Black and racialized children, see themselves reflected within our schools. It is long overdue,” Lecce said during a Thursday morning news conference at Lincoln Alexander Public School in Ajax.
The province is launching consultations with historians, educators and the Black community to develop the curriculum additions, set to roll out in September 2025.
MPP Patrice Barnes, the parliamentary assistant to the education minister, spearheaded the curriculum change and said she wants it to deepen students’ understanding of the country’s diverse and vibrant heritage.
“Celebrating the remarkable achievements of the Black community within Canadian history is vital in providing a modern curriculum that reflects the truth of our democracy, one that combats hate and fosters inclusivity,” Barnes said.
“This isn’t just about Black experiences, it’s not just about Black students. It’s about the responsibility we have to provide all students with a comprehensive understanding of our country’s rich and varied history.”
The learning material for Grades 7 and 8 will focus largely on pre-Confederation history, Lecce told reporters. Grade 10 students will learn specifically about Black Canadians post-Second World War, he added.
Lecce also announced that his ministry plans to impose a rule that all curricula in Ontario need to be updated at least every five years.
Lecce has recently rolled out a new “back to basics” kindergarten curriculum, new mandatory secondary school learning about the Holodomor famine and expanded teachings about the Holocaust.
As well, the government has introduced new math, language and science and technology curricula.