TDSB’s 2007 Students Without Legal Immigration Status Policy: One Year Later
In May 2007, trustees with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) unanimously passed the Students Without Legal Immigration Status policy. This policy confirms non-status immigrant students' right to education as protected under section 49.1 of the Ontario Education Act. The TDSB policy states that:
"all children who are qualified to be resident pupils to the Board, including those who are without immigration status in Canada, shall be entitled to admission to school" and that "all children shall be welcomed, regardless of immigration status, and information about them or their families shall not be shared with Immigration authorities."
While attending schools in the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) in April of 2006, four non-status children were apprehended by immigration officials over a period of 48 hours. These children and their families were subsequently deported. These incidents led to considerable anxiety among non-status immigrant families with school-aged children – fears still in evidence today.
Improve student performance
Studies have demonstrated the positive impact participation in school-based after-hours programming has by promoting greater parental involvement in school, greater student engagement, increased commitment to homework, readiness to learn, and more positive educational outcomes for children and youth. Summer and after-school programs also can reduce the back-to-school learning gap. (Kane, T., University of California, 2004; William T Grant Foundation and Royal Commission on Learning, Ontario. 1994)
Encourage artistic and cultural expression to create vibrant communities and expand capacity for learning
Opportunities for communities to 'come together' in community spaces involving the arts, dance, or music increase social connectedness and nurture the development of cultural and community life. In addition, there is increasing research on the value of the arts to learning and brain development and learning outcomes. (Ontario Arts Council 1997; and OMG Inc, et al. National Endowment for the Arts, 1991)
A groundbreaking new report on the state of homeless children in the education system was released by the Community Social Planning Council of Toronto and Aisling Discoveries Child and Family Centre on Monday, Oct. 1. Lost in the Shuffle - the first report of its kind in Canada - shows how thousands of homeless children each year are needlessly slipping through the cracks of Toronto's education system - and how to prevent this from happening.
Homeless kids neglected - Report says educational, emotional support lacking for students living in shelters
Toronto Star - October 1, 2007
Opening up Ontario’s Schools for Expanded Community Use: 2007 Community Use of Schools Survey Results and Recommendations
In 2005 the SPACE Coalition, in conjunction with the CSPC-T, undertook an Ontario-wide survey of community users of school space to assess their awareness of the provincially funded CUS program (Community Use of Schools). CUS was designed to reverse the loss of affordable access to schools by community groups, resulting from changes to the education funding formula in the late 1990s.
This year’s survey sought to assess the changes to community groups’ ability to access schools, resulting from the $20 million annual provincial investment in CUS.
What is the Toronto Community Services Resource Guide for Non-Status Immigrants?
The Community Social Planning Council of Toronto and Davenport Perth Neighbourhood Centre, in partnership with the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Campaign, have developed a Community Resource Guide for non-status immigrants. The guide comes in the form of a printed booklet available in five languages (English, Portuguese, Chinese, Spanish and Arabic), as well as a comprehensive website of community service listings.
The CSPC-T hosted the “Schools@theCentre” Conference on February 16 and 17, 2007, to look at the issue of what our schools could be.
The proceedings from that thought-provoking event, including the keynote address by Penny Milton, CEO of the Canadian Education Association, are now available online here.
Release Date: October 2006
Contributors: Beth Wilson, CSPC-T Researcher, Harriet Njiraini, CSPC-T Intern, Navjeet Sidhu, CSPC-T Intern, Zachary Tucker-Abramson, CSPC-T Intern
From the introduction:
On September 25, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Treasury Board President John Baird announced $1 billion in federal program cuts to be implemented over two years. At the same time that cuts to youth employment, literacy organizations, women's groups, Aboriginal health initiatives, and other equity relevant programs were announced, the federal government also reported a staggering $13.2 billion surplus.
In the wake of the announced cuts,
PUBLISHED: July 2006
AUTHORS: Community Social Planning Council of Toronto and Family Services Toronto
REPORT DOWNLOADS: Community Service Sector Report [PDF] and Immigrant-Refugee Serving Sector Report [PDF]
On the Front Lines: Improving Working Conditions and Ensuring Quality Community Services is a joint research initiative of Family Service Toronto and the Community Social Planning Council of Toronto. This one-year project was funded through the United Way of Greater Toronto’s Social Research Grants Initiative. The project goals were to examine working conditions, experiences and perspectives of Toronto’s community sector staff; identify and build support for organizational practices and social policy responses to improve working conditions and sector capacity; and engage key decision-makers to build support for project recommendations. The project involved focus groups with community sector front-line and managerial staff, roundtable discussions with key stakeholders, a review of collective agreements and a survey of Toronto immigrant- and refugee-serving sector staff.
Community Use of Schools Program 2005 Report
Schools have a long tradition of serving as "community centres" or "hubs" in many communities. In Ontario, community groups have historically used school space for free or at a nominal cost to organize activities and events for all age groups ranging from children and youth to seniors. The activities were carried out after-school, in the summer or on weekends.
This role of schools as community hubs has many benefits. One primary benefit is the fostering of strong school-community partnership. This partnership is known to have a very positive and long-lasting impact on local education1 as well as significant value to the community.
However, in 1998 the Ontario government changed this drastically with the creation of a new education funding formula that did not include affordable access to school facilities. Consequently, Boards of Education began to significantly increase the fees to community roups for use of school space. Boards contended that these fees were necessary to cover costs to keep facilities open after school hours including: custodial costs, permit administration, and utilities.