In a significant move during Black History Month, the Ontario government announced the integration of mandatory Black history education into the curriculum for Grades 7, 8, and 10 history classes, beginning September 2025. This initiative aims to underscore the profound influence and history of Black Canadians in shaping the nation, from the 1600s to the present day. Patrice Barnes, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education, emphasized the importance of recognizing Black Canadians’ integral role in the country’s development, stating, “It’s important that all students learn about Black communities in Canada and their enormous impact on the growth of our country.”
The updated curriculum will not only cover the historical contributions but also the challenges faced by Black Canadians in their journey toward building a democratic and inclusive Canada. Furthermore, Ontario is revamping its educational offerings to ensure students are prepared for future job markets, focusing on technological advancements and entrepreneurship.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce highlighted, “By mandating learning on the contributions Black individuals made to our country’s founding and success, the next generation of Canadians will better appreciate the sacrifice, patriotic commitment, and long-lasting contributions Black Canadians have made to Canada.”
The curriculum review includes a variety of updates aimed at equipping students with real-life skills and knowledge. Starting September 2024, high school students will be required to earn a credit in Technological Education in Grades 9 or 10, and new courses focusing on entrepreneurship and environmental and economic issues will be introduced.
Additionally, the Ontario government is introducing mandatory learning about significant historical events, such as the Holocaust and the Holodomor famine, and a back-to-basics approach for kindergarten education focusing on reading, writing, and math.
Officials and community leaders across Ontario have expressed their support for this curriculum enhancement. Kathy McDonald of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association’s Black Trustees’ Caucus (OPSBA) and Tiffany Ford, former Toronto District School Board Trustee, both praised the initiative for its potential to create a more inclusive and equitable educational system that acknowledges the rich heritage and contributions of Black Canadians to the nation’s history.
This curriculum change represents a significant step towards recognizing and integrating the diverse histories that make up Canada’s identity, ensuring students have a comprehensive understanding of the country’s cultural and historical landscape.