Ontario Introducing Mandatory Black History Learning

In Provincial

Province also unveils updated curriculum that prepares students for the jobs of the future

As the province celebrates Black History Month, the Ontario government is introducing new mandatory learning in Grades 7, 8 and 10 history on the exceptional contributions and history of Black Canadians who helped build Canada.

For the first time, starting in September 2025, Grades 7, 8 and 10 history classes will include mandatory learning with an emphasis on elevating Black history as Canadian history, by highlighting the various Black communities that emerged, developed and contributed to the development of Canada, including pre- and post-Confederation.

Students will now learn about the overwhelming contributions of Black individuals to Canada’s foundation as a young nation, and the obstacles they faced in the pursuit of building a democratic, inclusive and prosperous country.

“It’s important that all students learn about Black communities in Canada and their enormous impact on the growth of our country. Black people have been a part of the Canadian story since the 1600s,” said Patrice Barnes, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education. “And that’s why we aim to deepen students’ understanding of our country’s diverse and vibrant heritage by embedding this mandatory learning. It highlights the numerous significant milestones, which will help students develop a greater understanding of our country’s rich heritage.”

Over the next year, the ministry will consult with historians, educators and the Black community, which will inform the new learning.

In addition, Ontario continues its work on a modernized and up-to-date curriculum to ensure students graduate with real-life job skills and knowledge that they need to succeed – in the classroom and beyond. With the expedited growth in technological advancement and rise in entrepreneurship, the province is introducing updated curriculum starting in the next school year that prepares students for the jobs of tomorrow.

“Black history is Canadian history,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “By mandating learning on the contributions Black individuals made to our country’s founding and success, the next generation of Canadians will better appreciate the sacrifice, patriotic commitment and long-lasting contributions Black Canadians have made to Canada. As the economy and technology continue to change, we will continue to modernize curriculum, with an emphasis on STEM education, so students have the skills and confidence to graduate into good-paying jobs.”

To deliver on the commitment to provide greater transparency to parents and the public about how the Ontario curriculum is updated, the Ontario government has released the new Ontario Curriculum Review and Revision Guide. This guide provides an overview of the ministry’s current process for reviewing and revising the curriculum in both English and French from kindergarten to Grade 12, while also outlining the government’s plan to review curriculum every five years to ensure it is up-to-date and relevant to today’s job and life skills. This change is being delivered as a result of the former government not updating curriculum in a timely manner, including math and science curriculums that were 15 years old and 16 years old, respectively.

Ontario will also be issuing the following updates to the curriculum for implementation in September 2024, which include:

Technological Education, Grades 9 and 10 – Starting with students entering Grade 9 in September 2024, high school students will now be required to earn a Grade 9 or 10 Technological Education credit as part of their Ontario Secondary School Diploma. These two hands-on courses will help students explore and apply the engineering design process and fundamental technological concepts. These skills will give students an opportunity to explore programs and training pathways that can lead to a variety of STEM-related careers, including the skilled trades.

Building the Entrepreneurial Mindset, Grade 9 and Launching and Leading a Business, Grade 10 – In these two new experiential courses, students will begin to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and learn the importance of taking initiative, adapting to change, finding creative solutions to issues, and understanding the financial considerations of entrepreneurship. For example, the Grade 10 course will give students real-life experience on starting and running a business.

Exploring Canadian Geography, Grade 9 (de-streamed) – As part of the continued commitment to de-streaming the Grade 9 program, this course allows students to examine environmental and economic issues, and their impact related to topics such as natural resources, careers, as well as land use and sustainability. It will provide students with an understanding of the connections between STEM and Canada’s natural environment as it connects to Canadian identity and values.

Career Studies, Grade 10 – As announced in May 2023, the ministry is revising the Grade 10 Career Studies course to include additional mandatory learning on mental health literacy. The revised course will help students learn how to recognize signs of being overwhelmed or struggling, as well as where to find help locally when needed.

English, Grade 9 – This revised course for French-language schools is aligned with the Grade 9 English course for English-language schools, based on the same structure and strands. It will enable students to continue to develop and consolidate the foundational knowledge and skills they need for reading, writing, and oral and visual communication.

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Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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