Ontario makes Indigenous curriculum mandatory for Grades 1 to 3

A day before Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Ontario government announced changes to their school curriculum, committing to strengthening Indigenous learning in elementary school, including making it mandatory for Grades 1 to 3.

Currently, the province’s curriculum includes mandatory learning in Social Studies for Grades 4 to 6, and History for Grades 7, 8, and 10. 

Mandatory learning on residential schools for Grades 8 and 10 was introduced in 2018.

The Ministry of Education announced a commitment to complete the full spectrum of learning across this elementary curriculum, addressing the current gap in Grades 1 and 3 by September 2023. This timeline and the curriculum development process is being co-developed with Indigenous partners to reflect meaningful collaboration while recognizing the urgency of this content in learning, officials said.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce, Indigenous Affairs Minister Greg Rickford outlined the mandatory Indigenous-focused learning added to the early grades at a press briefing on Wednesday. 

The new Grades 1 to 3 Social Studies curriculum will include the following topics:

  • The role of family and resilience in First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and nations
  • First Nations, Métis and Inuit historical and contemporary realities
  • Indigenous peoples’ interrelationship and connection with the land
  • The residential school system and the reclamation and revitalization of identity, language, culture and community connections.

“We are committed to recognizing the contributions of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit individuals, communities and nations to our province and country while learning their histories and cultures,” said Minister Lecce. “Including Indigenous content and voices in Ontario’s curriculum – along with mandatory learning on residential schools – is a meaningful way that we can address issues of racism, Indigenous student well-being and advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. We are also investing more to support Indigenous students, with the aim of boosting graduation rates and enabling economic opportunity for the next generation of Indigenous students.”

The province said that the implementation of a mandatory curriculum on the residential school system, treaties and Indigenous peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada is in response to Nos. 62 and 63 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.



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