Canada: Toronto school board passes resolution recognizing racial harassment

Toronto: The school board in Canada’s largest city, Toronto, has voted in favor of a resolution on caste harassment, but in a diluted form, to refer cases of such discrimination to human rights officials in the province of Ontario for assessment. option is selected.

The motion was voted on late Wednesday, with 16 Toronto District School Board (TDSB) trustees voting in favor and five against.

The proposal states that the director of the TDSB “will file an application with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) requesting it to assess and provide a framework for addressing caste harassment in the context of public education”.

The original resolution, passed by the TDSB’s Governance and Policy Committee on February 8, called for a two-stage plan to address caste harassment to be implemented within the system.

Trustee Yalini Rajakulasingam, who proposed the motion, said at Wednesday’s board meeting that referring it to the OHRC would show that the incident affects communities across the province. He stressed that the resolution was “not about division but creating healing”.

Among those opposing the proposal was Trustee Weidong Pei, who said that there was no data to support the proposal and that TDSB staff had informed him that it was a “non-issue”.

The resolution stated that caste-based persecution was “experienced by various faith communities” in the affected regions, including South Asia and the Caribbean, and that there were “documented cases” in this regard “in the diaspora, including Toronto”.

TDSB is the nation’s largest school board, serving approximately 235,000 students in 583 schools.

Prior to the motion, a group of protesters gathered in front of the TDSB headquarters in Toronto where the motion was to be debated. He opposed the proposal on the grounds that it was tantamount to “caste profiling” and sowed division within the minority community. The Canadian Organization for Hindu Heritage Education (COHHE), which opposed the motion, described the result as a “victory”, arguing that such discrimination was already covered under the OHRC under “ancestry”. and can add a category only if the provincial government so chooses. The COHHE underlined that it opposes any form of caste-based discrimination.

After receiving a response from the OHRC, the TDSB Director will present a report to the parent committee where the proposal was first introduced.

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