TORONTO — The Ontario government is investing in a plan to counter Islamophobia and ensure classrooms are free from discrimination. Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, and Kaleed Rasheed, MPP for Mississauga East-Cooksville and Associate Minister of Digital Government, announced that in collaboration with community partners, funding will be provided for initiatives to support Muslim students and families with an emphasis on enhancing resources and training for educators, targeted supports for students, and digital resources for parents.
According to the most up to date data from Statistics Canada, hate crimes have been on the rise in Canada, with a nine per cent increase in anti-Muslim attacks in 2019, when compared to the previous year. Tragic and disturbing reports and incidents across Canada and the world over the past years underscore the need for action.
“It is unacceptable that many Muslim students continue to face discrimination in our schools, on our playgrounds and in communities across this country,” said Minister Lecce. “That is why we are investing and partnering with community leaders — who are leading this effort— to counter racism and better support Ontario’s Muslim students and their families. For Premier Ford, Minister Rasheed and myself, we believe in our core that every student deserves to feel safe, respected, and engaged in learning in inclusive classrooms.”
As part of the Safe Return to Class fund, Ontario’s government is providing $225,000 to the Muslim Association of Canada to create digital resources for educators, students and parents to raise awareness about Islamophobia. These resources will provide information about Islamic practices, values and misconceptions, root causes of Islamophobia and ways to help end Islamophobia, racism and discrimination.
Ontario is also providing $75,000 to the National Council of Canadian Muslims to facilitate outreach and engagement with Muslim parents and families, with a focus on newcomer communities. These engagements will provide information on school supports and will provide culturally relevant resources to enhance well-being for families and help Muslim students prepare for the return to school in September.