Greater Equity Means Greater Student Success

Ontario's diversity is one of its greatest assets. It is the Ministry of Education's responsibility to respect and value the full range of differences we find in our students, staff, and the entire community. We know that to create safe, inclusive and engaging learning environments within our publicly funded education system, we must be committed to equity and inclusion for all students.

Equity Action Plan

In September 2017,  the Ministry of Education released its Education Equity Action Plan — a three-year strategy that involves working with parents, educators, principals, board staff, trustees and the community, to identify and eliminate discriminatory practices, systemic barriers and bias from schools and classrooms.

The Ministry of Education's Education Equity Secretariat will bring new resources and explore program options, create new policies and establish realistic goals to help bridge gaps and disparities in achievement for all students across the province.

We are focussing on a small number of clear objectives that include shifting the culture in our classrooms, schools and districts by applying an equity, inclusion and human rights perspective to internal organizational structures — including the Ministry of Education itself. We are tracking our progress to measure success in achieving our goals.

Additionally, diversity in leadership and in enrolments for teacher training will increase fairness in the hiring and promotion of staff and educators by removing barriers for underrepresented communities. School leaders and educators will better reflect Ontario's diverse student population. Research shows that when students see themselves reflected in their learning environment, they are more likely to feel a sense of belonging and well-being.

The Goal of Equity in Education

In Achieving Excellence, Ontario's vision for education, the ministry included “Ensuring Equity” as one of its core goals. By identifying, removing, and preventing, systemic barriers and discriminatory practices, students will be able to realize their full potential, and that will improve student achievement. Demographic data can help identify barriers and provide a clearer picture of who makes up Ontario's student and staff population. This type of research also contributes to more informed decision-making.

Achieving Excellence is ambitious — but it's achievable. The vision challenges the education system to go beyond simply graduating successful students to developing resilient and engaged citizens. It ensures that Ontario students have the opportunity to succeed personally and academically, regardless of background, identity or personal circumstances.

Ensuring equity is a necessary foundation for improving student achievement, promoting student and staff well-being, and it's a critical component of the student experience. The Ontario government is committed to the success of every child and student across the province, and it will ensure that linking student achievement, well-being and equity is the top priority in all Ontario schools.

Building on Our Success

Ontario's Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy , first launched in 2009, aims to help educators across the province better identify and remove discriminatory biases and systemic barriers to support the achievement and well-being of all students. These barriers — related to racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination — may prevent some students from reaching their full potential. (PDF, 2.39 MB) 

The strategy builds on successful ministry, school board, and school policies and practices. As a result of the strategy, every school board has:

  • an equity and inclusive education policy
  • a religious accommodation guideline in place.

By ensuring equity in our education system, we can help all students achieve excellence, regardless of their background or personal circumstances. Research shows that when students feel welcomed and accepted in their school, they are more likely to succeed academically. We want to create a culture of high expectations where factors such as race, gender and socio-economic status do not prevent students from achieving ambitious outcomes.

Additional Resources

  • The 2009 strategy document, Realizing the Promise of Diversity: Ontario's Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy outlined how the Ministry of Education, school boards and schools support stronger equity and inclusive education in our schools. (PDF, 2.3 MB)
  • The Policy/Program Memorandum (PPM) No. 119 , “Developing Equity and Inclusive Policies in Ontario schools,” provided direction to school boards on the review, development, implementation and monitoring of equity and inclusive education policies to support student achievement.
  • The Equity and Inclusive Education in Ontario Schools: Guidelines for Policy Development and Implementation, 2014  helped boards review and/or continue to develop, implement, and monitor equity and inclusive education policies that support student achievement and well-being. The guidelines also offered practical strategies and advice, along with examples, templates, and web links that boards can use to inform policy review and ongoing development, implementation, and monitoring. (PDF, 2.78 MB)
  • How Do We Know We Are Making a Difference? is a reflective tool designed to support school and system leaders in their ongoing reflection on how to strengthen implementation of Ontario's Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy in their schools and boards. Leaders may use the resource to engage their students, staff, and communities in reflecting on the eight areas of focus that support the identification and elimination of barriers to student achievement and well-being at all levels. (PDF, 627 KB)

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