FAIR Ontario's comments on Bill 67
Ontarians are concerned about Bill 67, known as the Racial Equity in the Education System Act, and turning to FAIR for help. The bill aims to ensure that anti-racism and racial equity are key aspects of Ontario’s education system from kindergarten through post-secondary education. Submitted as a Private Member’s Bill, the bill has now passed a second reading and is awaiting social policy review committee hearings.
Despite the fact that Bill 67 was introduced months ago, there has been little press coverage until this week. Many Ontarians have been surprised that these substantial changes could be made to Ontario’s education system without much warning or public discussion or consideration.
While its proponents suggest this bill is “anti-racist,” our concern is that it will, in reality, further racism. The bill defines racism as “the use of socially constructed ideas of race to justify or support, whether consciously or subconsciously, the notion that one race is superior to another.” The bill’s proposed summary convictions for racist speech, as well as its requirements for teachers and council members to “have a proven commitment to racial equity or take anti-racism training,” runs the risk of inviting and affirming divisive ideological frameworks.
While students of all skin colors have declining math and literacy skills across the province, this bill would divert further educational resources by implementing boards of inquiry to adjudicate acts of racism. Since such acts of racism could be dealt with using existing disciplinary practices—or by the police if the act is serious enough to warrant criminal investigation—these costly boards of inquiry seem excessive and inefficient.
In our view, Bill 67’s definition of “racism” is sufficiently vague to justify accusations and even convictions on the basis of subjective interpretations of often complex and nuanced human interactions.
We support empowering students through teaching competency in life skills (including math and literacy) so that they may have sufficient confidence and resilience to reject any prejudice they may face. We are determined to prevent the formation of an educational system that pits our children against one another and makes them hypersensitive to even perceived slights. We acknowledge the abhorrent reality of racism and are committed to opposing it, but we reject Bill 67 as the solution.
FAIR Ontario hosted its largest chapter meeting on Tuesday, March 15th, attended by over 70 people, who gathered to discuss this bill. The high attendance was due, in part, to a shout-out to FAIR on Jordan Peterson’s podcast by guest David Haskell. FAIR-minded people from a variety of demographics in Ontario are eager to have an honest, empowering, and pro-human conversation about how to create the brightest future for all of Ontario’s children.