OPSBA statement for Truth and Reconciliation Week


Toronto, September 26, 2023 – It’s Truth and Reconciliation Week. On Saturday, the week culminates with September 30, the third National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day. It is a day for reflection and acknowledgement of harmful colonial policies and actions of forced assimilation, such as residential schools, lack of access to clean drinking water and safe houses, the ‘60s Scoop, and overrepresentation in the child welfare and justice systems.

“September 30 is often a challenging day for Indigenous staff,” said Elaine Johnston, ITC Chair. “We encourage our member boards to exemplify care for Indigenous staff by increasing support or taking the lead in activity planning and facilitation for both this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and future occurrences. This must be done through continued engagement with Indigenous staff and partners. This is one small act of caring that can make activities more meaningful.”

OPSBA continues to advance reconciliation as one of its strategic priorities. And while there is still work to be done, we are proud of the steps we have taken in recent years with the guidance of the Indigenous Trustees’ Council (ITC), our primary advisory body on Indigenous Education. Examples of recent actions and advocacy include:

  • The Chair of the ITC is now a member of OPSBA’s Executive Council
  • OPSBA has a dedicated staff position to support its work on Indigenous Education.
  • OPSBA has established a strategic priority of Advancing Reconciliation. Indigenous Education priorities are included in all of OPSBA’s education funding and policy advocacy, including for the annual Grants for Student Needs consultations
  • Advocacy to the Minister of Education regarding Indigenous language revitalization, appropriate consultation practices, Land-Based Learning, Indigenous Graduation Coaches, curriculum supports and resources, secondary streaming, and more.
  • OPSBA is hosting a National Gathering on Indigenous Education in Toronto from July 3-5 and will welcome trustees from across Canada to participate.

“We all have a role to play and a responsibility to educate ourselves about our shared history,” said OPSBA President Cathy Abraham. “We must learn from our past and strive to repair relationships that have been strained for centuries.”

The Association has compiled a helpful list of resources for educators, students and the community, including:

OPSBA’s work on Advancing Reconciliation

Education resources from the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion

The Canadian Government’s Resources for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Truth and Reconciliation Week – Resources from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

Turtle Concepts – Residential School workshops and professional development programs

Every Child Matters – Book Resources & More (PDF)

Reconciliation Education

Goodminds.com – First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Books (Truth and Reconciliation)