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Roadmap 2020-2023

The OCDSB has a strong commitment to human rights, equity and inclusion. While many steps have been taken to identify and address the systemic and structural barriers that prevent everyone from participating, excelling and feeling valued in the OCDSB community, there remains much more to learn and to do.

As a school district we acknowledge that oppression and discrimination still exist within our systems, structures, policies and practices. It shows up specifically as racism and more specifically anti-Indigenous and anti-Black racism; Islamophobia, antisemitism, and antiSikhism; ableism; sexism, cis-genderism and heterosexism. 

It is compounded by the intersection of various aspects of each person’s unique identity, including classism and socio-economic status. It shows up as disproportionate representation in our staffing and leadership structures; a curriculum that is Eurocentric and that does not reflect the rich ethnic and cultural diversity of our student population and the world; over-representation of Indigenous, Black, minoritized, 2SLGBTQ+ and special education students in discipline, including suspensions, expulsions, exclusions and interactions with the police; disproportionate representation in locally developed and applied versus academic pathways and specialized programs; higher dropout rates and lower graduation rates. The perpetuation of these systemic barriers results in disparity in achievement and well-being outcomes and experiences for these students.

Disrupting and addressing these systems, structures, policies and practices by actively engaging in an anti-oppression, anti-racism and human rights-based approach at all levels of the organization is key to making change and to eliminating disparities and disproportionalities. It requires us to focus on how we learn and work together, to recognize the inherent dignity and worth of each person, and to ensure that every student’s right to education is respected and realized.

The Indigenous, Equity and Human Rights Roadmap proposes specific actions and accountabilities toward achieving these goals.

roadmap photo 2See Me, Hear My Story

The Indigenous, Equity and Human Rights Roadmap 2020-2023 reflects a human rights-based approach focusing on equality and nondiscrimination, participation and inclusion, and transparency and accountability. It is grounded in respect for fundamental human rights reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the Ontario Human Rights Code. It reflects the OCDSB's commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action, the UN International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024, the five themes identified through the Valuing Voices focus groups, data from the Valuing Voices student survey 2019 and the Principles of Inclusive Design. Even more importantly, it is informed by and aligned with the voices we have heard within the OCDSB community.

Explicit and deliberate actions are urgently required to address inequities in our systems, structures, policies and practices that continue to impact student and staff success and well-being and to build trust with students, families, staff, and communities that we have been under-serving. The goals outlined in the Roadmap focus on six key areas:

READ THE FULL REPORT

Message from the Director

Camille Williams-TaylorOur Indigenous, Equity and Human Rights Roadmap offers a pathway for incredible change. At first glance, the goals outlined may seem ambitious. We are looking to secure accountability, identify and disrupt systemic and structural barriers, build staff awareness and understanding, increase representation, and develop and strengthen relationships.

This will be hard work that forces us to challenge existing structures, preconceived notions and the ways we have always done things in education. But to ignore the inequity, the systemic racism, and allow the status quo to continue will be harder still for too many students unable to reach their full potential.

Background, race, religion, gender, who we love, ability—these should not be barriers. They are key attributes that must be recognized, understood, and validated as critical to student identity. We aspire to shape a culture of caring in Ottawa-Carleton. Underpinning this culture is an emphasis on building opportunity, so all students feel welcome and empowered to find their own path to success.

Camille Williams-Taylor, OCDSB Director of Education 

Message from the Chair of the Board

Lynn ScottThe Indigenous, Equity and Human Rights Roadmap is not simply an OCDSB creation. The voices and advocacy of students, parents, staff and community partners have been fundamental to the construction of this plan.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to thank all of those who shared their experiences and offered helpful guidance. The stories shared with us through the identity survey, meetings and focus groups have been difficult to tell and difficult to hear, but they have shone a light on deeply rooted structural racism in our district and in our community. Some students have felt actively discriminated against, while others have seen their identity ignored through omission. We must acknowledge and learn from this past.

This roadmap is indeed a path for us all to follow. We need the community to continue to hold us accountable and to be our partner to ensure our gains extend beyond the walls of our schools. You have led us to this point. Now is the time for us to move forward together along this road.

Lynn Scott, Chair of the OCDSB Board

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