Ontario Helping Tamil Students Succeed

Ontario Helping Tamil Students Succeed

More Learning and Mental Health Supports for Ontario Students

January 31, 2022


TORONTO — The Ontario government is supporting Tamil students with targeted mental health and wellness programs and resources. This investment, announced by Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, joined by Raymond Cho, MPP for Scarborough North and Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, Vijay Thanigasalam, MPP Scarborough – Rouge Park and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Transportation, Logan Kanapathi, MPP Markham – Thornhill, Aris Babikian, MPP Scarborough – Agincourt, and Christina Mitas, MPP Scarborough, during Tamil Heritage Month, reaffirms the province’s commitment to learning recovery and ensuring every student in Ontario can reach their full potential.

Ontario is providing $48,950 to the Canadian Tamil Academy, a not-for-profit organization that works to preserve and cultivate the Tamil language, culture and history within Canada. Funding will go towards providing Tamil students with information and resources to address mental health issues, cope with stress, build resilience and implement self-care strategies, while reducing the stigma around mental health in the Tamil community.

“I am incredibly proud of Ontario’s Tamil community and continue to stand with their children and families as they heal from the darkness of the Tamil genocide,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “Through our partnership with the Canadian Tamil Academy, we will help to reduce the stigma around mental health and provide Tamil students with access to supports so that they can reach their full potential.”

This new investment is part of the Priorities and Partnerships Funding COVID-19 Equity Supports, which funds various initiatives that help promote a positive and supportive school climate, support healthy relationships, and address bullying and cyberbullying.

Ontario is committed to supporting its Tamil community. On May 6th 2021, MPP Thanigasalam received all-party support for his private member’s bill to officially recognize the week of May 11th to May 18th as Tamil Genocide Education Week. MPP Thanigasalam’s bill, which Minister Lecce spoke in favour of, encourages Ontarians to learn more about the atrocities that were committed against innocent Tamil civilians during the civil war in Sri Lanka between 1983 and 2009.

Quick Facts

  • The Canadian Tamil Academy educates and empowers future generations of Canadian Tamils to connect with their language and identity.
  • Seventy per cent of all mental health and addictions issues begin in childhood or adolescence, according to “The human face of mental health and mental illness in Canada,” a Government of Canada report.
  • One in five Ontario students aged four to 17 meets the criteria for a significant mental health issue, according to the 2019 Ontario Child and Health Study.


“Intergenerational and historical trauma runs deep in the Tamil community. The Tamil Genocide affects the entire community of people and it continues to impact generations. This funding will equip Tamil students through workshops and other resources to identify, cope and implement strategies of self-care as well as bring awareness to and breakdown the stigma of mental health in the Tamil community.”

– Vijay Thanigasalam
Member of Provincial Parliament, Scarborough – Rouge Park

“We stand together to denounce genocide and educate our future generations about the impacts of genocide. We see many families who have been impacted by the genocide. We need to ensure there is a safe space for families to discuss topics like this and recognize that healing needs to take place.”

– Vinasithamby S. Thurairajah
President, Canadian Tamil Academy

“As someone who has personally experienced the atrocities committed during the civil war in Sri Lanka against Tamil civilians, I am truly honoured that the Province of Ontario recognizes the potential mental health issues of our Canadian Tamil students. As we know mental health begins early in one’s life and given the brutality during the civil war in Sri Lanka for over 25 years, families have since suffered in silence, and in return effecting future Canadian Tamil generations. Many of whom are still traumatized to this day, here in Ontario. This provincial funding to the Canadian Tamil Academy will assist many fellow Canadian Tamils struggling with their mental illness and addictions and help empower future generations here in Ontario connect with their culture, language and past.”

– Logan Kanapathi
Member of Provincial Parliament, Markham – Thornhill

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