(January 25, 2023)  

Mississauga, Ontario—In yet another historic turning point for the fight against Islamophobia in Canada, the Peel District School Board (PDSB) has become the first school board in Canada to adopt an anti-Islamophobia strategy.   

Community partners including the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), the Urban Alliance on Race Relations (UARR) and the Council of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA) played an important role in helping to envision and craft this strategy in consultation with staff, students and families at PDSB. Former PDSB trustee Nokha Dakroub first passed a motion for the school board to adopt this strategy.  

“The PDSB has set a tremendous example with this anti-Islamophobia strategy that other school boards across the country would be wise to study, examine, and follow” said Aasiyah Khan, Director of Education Programs at NCCM. “About 25% of students learning within the PDSB identify as Muslim. Adopting an anti-Islamophobia strategy sends a strong message to the community that the board is responsive and committed to creating safe and inclusive learning environments.”  

“It’s really fitting that this announcement is being made in the lead up to the sixth anniversary of the Quebec City shooting, which really changed this country,” Khan says. “This is a historic step forward but it’s really the beginning, and we look forward to working with all parties to ensure implementation of this pioneering strategy.”  

This strategy is vital during a time of rising Islamophobia. After the 2021 truck attack that killed four members of the same Muslim family in London, Ontario, Canada become the leader among G-7 countries in Islamophobia related fatalities in the recent past. Ontario’s Ministry of Education also noted before that anti-Black racism and Islamophobia are both persistent issues in PDSB schools.   

In the aftermath of the London attack, Muslim communities came together to ask the government to convene the first National Action Summit on Islamophobia, which produced a list of policy recommendations for all levels of government. Among the high-level recommendations was the aim for school boards in Canada to adopt an anti-Islamophobia strategy.