FREEDOM Declaration of Ontario
This Declaration is a foundation document for the For Real Equitable Education with Diversity and Openness Movement (FREEDOM) of Ontario.
This Declaration inevitably references or cites relevant laws or policies, or rephrases parts of them. It is the drafters' sincere and genuine intention to plagiarize nothing. If any words or concepts are unoriginal in this Declaration, all the credits are attributed to the original sources.
Besides the universal freedoms and rights conferred and protected by the Human Rights Instruments, this Declaration proposes the following principles, ideals and goals for education in Ontario:
- Education shall be opportunity-equal, equitable, diverse, open, free from discrimination, oppression or segregation, respectful to maximum autonomy and individuality, and globally competitive;
- Public officials shall be subject to recall and personal accountability;
- Students shall have significant powers in decision-making of educational policies;
- All forms of education (public, private, independent, denominational, out-of-province, etc.) at all levels shall be entitled to public educational funding;
- Ethno-racial affirmative action must be strictly prohibited in pre-higher education.
This draft is for "public consultation" and to seek public inputs and feedback from all, including but not limited to students, parents, educators and experts in Ontario and beyond. All Ontario students are the "best;" and Ontario educators and education experts are among the most professional and knowledgeable in Canada, and probably in the world. We all deserve much more and better than what we have had, in particular than what we would have soon if we did not act immediately, in education.
This Declaration is to collect and merge fundamental legal, in particular Human Rights concepts and principles concerning education from the International Human Rights Law and the domestic law, to identify historical and present key educational issues in Ontario and to propose high-level solutions, and to set the common direction and goals to improve education for all residents in Ontario, and probably beyond, while we are global citizens and contributors too.
- Sources or origins of a section or a paragraph, when applicable, are provided in square brackets.
- Each "Remark" subsection is to provide the rationale, background, extended explanation, and/or comments.
- Summary / TLDR, remarks and sources will likely be removed from the finalized version of this Declaration.
- This blog post will be updated.
- Sections of Goals and Notes will be eventually removed.
The For Real Equitable Education with Diversity and Openness Movement (FREEDOM) of Ontario,
In accord with
● the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (the "UDHR"),
● the Convention on the Rights of the Child (the "CRC"),
● the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (the "ICCPR"),
● the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (the "ICESCR"),
● the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (the "Bogota Declaration") (heretofore collectively called the "International Human Rights Law," or the "IHRL"),
● the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the "Charter"),
● the Social Union Framework Agreement (the "SUFA"),
● the Ontario Human Rights Code (the "Code") (heretofore, including the IHRL, collectively called the "Human Rights Instruments"), and
● a tremendous number of legitimate, well-grounded, soundly-reasoned, or scientific proposals, principles, theories and practices in philosophical, legal, educational, cultural, political and socioeconomic fields, which represent human being's continuous and striving pursuits to fight for and defend fundamental freedoms and rights,
Respecting and protecting fundamental human rights and educational rights of all persons in Ontario,
Recognizing historical and present key educational issues in Ontario,
Promoting equitable, diverse, open, transparent, autonomous, inclusive, accessible and adaptive education,
Advocating to prepare Ontario students to be globally competitive,
Proclaims upon educational freedoms, rights, principles, ideals and goals in Ontario as follows:
Everyone has freedom to and of education, learning, and training. [the UDHR, Article 26 (1); the ICESCR, Article 13 (1); the CERD, Article 5 (e) (v); the Bogota Declaration, Article XII & Article XXXI; the SUFA, Section 1]
Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality, to their fullest potential, and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. [The UDHR, Article 26 (2); the CRC, Article 29 (1) (a); the ICESCR, Article 13 (1); the Bogota Declaration, Article XII]
Everyone, even a minor, shall have a prior freedom to choose the kind of education for themselves. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children. [The UDHR, Article 26 (3)]
Everyone is entitled to a social order in which the rights and freedoms set in the Human Rights Instruments and in this Declaration can be eventually fully realized. [The UDHR, Article 28]
"Freedom to education" means free access to education provided generally by the public authorities, and "freedom of education" means self-determination or parental determination of the form of education, including but not limited to homeschooling.
Everyone has freedom to equal treatment and equal opportunities in education anywhere in Ontario. [The UDHR, Article 21 (2); the Bogota Declaration, Article XII; the Charter, Section 15 (1); the SUFA, Section 1]
This is to say, equal treatment and equal opportunities shall be guaranteed for everyone. For instance, as the rare case may be, a minor may apply for a university and shall be equally treated in admission, or an old person may apply for a placement in an elementary school and shall be equally treated in admission.
Everyone, even a minor, has the freedom and the right to recognition everywhere as an equal human being before and under the law and policies. [The UDHR, Article 6]
Everyone, even a minor, has the right to freedom of movement and residence anywhere in Ontario, subject to the limitations by the law, without their freedom to equal treatment and equal opportunities to education anywhere in Ontario being impacted. [The UDHR, Article 13; the CERD, Article 5 (d) (i); the SUFA, Section 2]
Everyone may have a preference of convenient access to education. When their freedom of mobility conflicts with convenience, the freedom of mobility shall prevail.
In particular, a minor's mobility right shall be guaranteed, without the limitations based on their residency or address.
Everyone has the freedom and right to an effective remedy by the competent tribunals for announced intentions, or acts that violate their fundamental rights, in particular freedoms and rights concerning education, granted by the law. Such a remedy when granted shall be effectively enforced. [The UDHR, Article 8; the ICCPR, Article 3; the CERD, Article 6]
Everyone is entitled in full equality to due process, including but not limited to a fair and open hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in determination of their freedoms and rights. [The UDHR, Article 10]
The above two sections may be the basis to establish the Ontario Education Tribunal. It will be dedicated to expeditiously process education matters, in the judicial framework of the Human Rights Instruments and the relevant laws, such as the Ontario Education Act.
The public shall have the freedom and right to recall any unqualified public official or policy maker before their term expires, and when appropriate, hold them personally accountable for the damages or losses they have caused by misusing their power to any individual, group or the public.
A significant issue in Ontario is that the public has no recall power, and it is generally hard to hold personally accountable an official in a public office, including but not limited to an adjudicator or a judge (who is generally protected by judicial immunity). For instance, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario's practices tend to remove any individual respondent from the proceedings if they are employed by and act on behalf of an organization.
It is necessary to push forward the legislation for the Ontario Recall Act (by which a registered voter can petition to remove a public official) and the Ontario Initiative Act (by which a registered voter can petition for legislative changes or a new legislation).
Everyone is entitled to all the freedoms set in the Human Rights Instruments and this Declaration, without distinction of any kind of their own, their parent or legal guardian, or their family members, such as race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, language, political or other opinion, religion, creed, belief, citizenship, place of origin, national, ethnic or social origin, property, residency, disability, birth, age, marital status, family status, or other status. [The UDHR, Article 2; the CRC, Article 2; the ICCPR, Article 2 (1) & Article 26; the ICESCR, Article 2 (2); the CERD, in particular Article 1 (1) & Article 5; the Bogota Declaration, Article II; the Charter, Section 15 (1); the Code]
All are equal before and under the law and policies, and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of the Human Rights Instruments and this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination. [The UDHR, Article 7]
Everyone and every ethno-racial group is free from racial quota or racial balancing.
There has been little public discussion or controversy around racial quota or racial balancing in Ontario/Canada. Since the "Coloured People" provision was removed in the Ontario law in the 1960s, Ontario/Canadian public educational institutions, along with other public sector organizations, have gradually adopted race-neutral (largely race-blind) policies in admissions and employment.
Racial quota or racial balancing has been repetitively, constantly and continuously ruled unconstitutional and illegal in recent decades in the United States, though cautious affirmative action, with justified considerations of racial factors, generally has been legally permitted there.
In fact, any affirmative action involving a similar quota or balancing on any ground, for instance, sex, is unlikely legal, as shown in the news of 2022-05-16 about a California law being ruled unconstitutional on 2022-05-13. As cited in the news, "mandating a quota like this was never going to fly;" And "another Los Angeles judge found that a California law mandating that corporations diversify their boards with members from certain racial, ethnic or LGBT groups was unconstitutional."
Everyone has the freedom and right to race-neutral policies, only subject to affirmative action that is permitted by the law and that are scientifically well grounded.
See the remark for the section of "Freedom from racial quota or racial balancing."
Everyone as a human being is unique and shall be treated with respect to their individuality. In particular, everyone has the freedom from profiling, including but not limited to racial profiling, cultural profiling, or geographic profiling.
The online Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines profiling: "the act or process of extrapolating information about a person based on known traits or tendencies." In this section, it mainly means an individual being judged and/or treated according to the "general," "typical," or "average" known traits or tendencies of the racial, cultural, geographic, or other group they belong to, which is often known as a "stereotype."
Broadly, an individual's past (records, impression to others) may also form "profiling." An individual being free from such "personal" profiling means that they shall be judged and/or treated by their latest or current situation, rather than by their past. In fact, freedom from "personal" profiling has been largely implemented in education: For an admission, the educational institution (such as a university, college, school or program) generally requires only the applicant's most recent (years') records; An examination, test, or competition checks a student's latest capacity.
This section is to say, a human being, ideally, shall be judged or treated by their individual and current (state of) "soul," rather than their profiling stereotype (which may be invoked often by their appearance characteristics) or past records.
Everyone is free from oppression. In the exercise of their rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in Ontario. [The UDHR, Article 29 (2)]
Everyone is free from direct or indirect cultural, ethno-racial, or other segregation. [The CERD, Article 3]
A residency-based policy generally leads to racial and/or socioeconomic segregation, as residential communities often naturally consist of different racial and/or socioeconomic groups. It perfectly fits segregation's definition 2(a) in the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
- a : the separation or isolation of a race, class, or ethnic group by enforced or voluntary residence in a restricted area, by barriers to social intercourse, by separate educational facilities, or by other discriminatory means [emphasis added]
Education shall promote the development of respect for everyone's own or their parents' cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which they are living, the country from which they may originate, and for civilizations different from their own. [The CRC, Article 29 (1) (c)]
Education shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all peoples, cultural, ethnic, racial, religious or national groups and persons of indigenous origin, and shall further the activities for the maintenance of peace and harmony. [The UDHR, Article 26 (2); the CRC, Article 29 (1) (d); the ICESCR, Article 13 (1)]
Freedom of multiculturalism does not displace any educational institution's right to the development and refinement of fundamental literacies, in respect to a legitimate and justified hierarchy of instructional contents.
A variety of programs shall be provided in the education system, and everyone has the freedom to appropriate programming, including but not limited to technical, professional, and specialized secondary or higher education, which shall be generally available and equally accessible to all, subject to competition for admission if applicable, on the basis of merit or capacity. [The UDHR, Article 26 (1); the CRC, Article 28 (1) (b)]
Whenever possible, remote or hybrid learning options, along with in-person learning, and switchover opportunities with minimum restriction among these options, shall be provided to students as needed.
We support an appropriate scale of specialized education in public elementary and secondary schools, recognizing the needs and demands from students and parents based on the undeniable fact that not everyone is the same capable or interested in all the subjects in general education, and conceding to the argument that a public education system shall provide the comparably "best" educational opportunities to "talented" students who cannot afford the cost for top-quality private education. A specialized school or program may also accommodate any student who is particularly talented in the specialty.
Also, "education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality, to their fullest potential."
Everyone has the freedom and right to and of internationally competitive education, to be globally competent in schools and upon graduations.
Collaborative learning is vital and yet it is not addressed here, as we believe that it has been very well done in Ontario education.
There is a concerning trend in Ontario that some policy makers and decision makers believe that there has been too much competition among students, schools and programs in elementary and secondary education. This is a blatant and ungrounded misconception.
Adequate competition is necessary and healthy to the education system (locally or overall), and to most students, and systematically unavoidable. Ontario students are entitled the freedom and the right to grow globally competitive in the public education system.
Avoiding competition may be individual and personal freedom, which is fully respected. Every family or student has the full freedom and right not to participate in the application and admission process for any (specialized) school or program, if they think it is too competitive. No public authority, including but not limited to a school board, shall have the power to eliminate such competition (and autonomy), though. Again, anti-competition may be an individualized choice, or probably is permissible within the autonomy of a teacher or of a school/program if they choose so and a sufficient number of students or families voluntarily accept their ideal, but shall never be compulsorily enforced in a large scale in public education, for instance, by a school board.
We do have concerns with over-competition. And yet we believe it will NOT emerge in Ontario, as long as there is substantial diversity in education forms, programs, and admissions, which mostly shall be autonomously decided at the school level.
Everyone is entitled to maximum autonomy in education so long as they meet the minimum requirements or standards in the education system. [The Charter, Section 7, Liberty]
Every teacher for a course and the students enrolled in the course are entitled to maximum autonomy in course delivery, so long as it meets the minimum requirements or standards as required by the law and the relevant policies.
Every school or educational program is entitled to maximum autonomy in school or program setting and administration, and educational practices, including but not limited to setting its own admission criteria, so long as they meet the minimum requirements or standards set by the public authorities, and comply with fundamental legal, ethical, moral and educational principles.
Traditionally in Ontario, program setting and administration is generally done at the school level, not at the school board level. For instance, two specialized programs in two schools may have the exact same name, and yet their admission criteria and processes and program settings may be entirely different.
This type of autonomy is very significant for diversity. For instance, for secondary program admissions, School A's may be fully based on report cards, School B's may be "interest"-based and apply random selection, School C's may be entirely based on screening tests without any report cards being submitted, and School D's may be a combination of a few or all …
Combined with the freedom of mobility and Ontario's open enrollment tradition in secondary education, the autonomy and the diversity have offered a variety of admission opportunities and allowed a large number of students and families to make their educational choices and decisions.
Any teacher and their students for a course shall have the autonomy to decide how to best deliver the course at their discretion, subject to the set conditions, including but not limited to syllabus, course contents, rubrics and grading, and teaching model (in-person, remote, or hybrid).
This section is also to say, any student's "advantage" gained from extracurricular activities, which is within the sphere of their autonomy (and privacy) as part of their liberty, shall be neither considered nor suppressed when a law or an educational policy is made.
Everyone is entitled the freedom of choice, unless such freedom is clearly and unequivocally restricted or prohibited by the law.
This is to say, an educational policy may not limit freedom of choice. For instance, the number of schools or programs a person may apply for or be admitted into shall not be capped. If a person may competently attend two, three, or more schools or programs at the same time, as the rare case may be, it shall not be limited.
Student bodies are entitled to maximum autonomy and self-governance for students' or student bodies' affairs, except where they are partially or wholly limited or regulated by the law or educational policies.
Students shall have the freedom and rights to significant power in decision-making, in particular, in deciding educational policies or policy changes. [The SUFA, Sections 3]
It is not right that students are nearly powerless in deciding educational policies or policy changes. For instance, per the current Ontario Education Act and its regulations, a school board may have only 2-3 student trustees, and their powers as trustees are significantly limited, compared to adult trustees'.
This is quite unreasonable, given that students, in particular secondary students, generally are sufficiently mature to understand educational affairs, and are capable of making sensible decisions in policy-making.
It is also likely illegal, violating at least the Equality Rights section in the Charter.
Present students know their own educational matters well, often far better than school board officers and adult trustees, whose majority of experience and knowledge in education was gained long ago and often outdated.
Legislative revision should be sought to equalize student trustees' powers to adult trustees', and to increase the number of student trustees in a school board, to at least the same number of adult trustees. To alleviate a student trustee's burden in the board of trustees,
- Their term shall be shortened, for instance, to 1 year; and/or,
- Their duties may be in rotation, alternately by half of student trustees. This means, to retain the same voting powers as adult trustees', the number of student trustees shall be further doubled - For a ward, if one adult trustee is elected, two student trustees for the said ward shall be incumbent at any time, only one of them executing rotational trustee duties and powers.
Policy-making concerning education shall be open and free from manipulation, in good faith, transparency and accountability, for the public interest. [The SUFA, Sections 3]
Any particular policy detail or policy change detail, where controversy arrives, shall be decided via a scientific and/or democratic method, including but not limited to one or more public surveys, whenever possible.
More practically operable methods, standards and specifications shall be proposed and specified.
An apparent issue we have known during policy-making of the Peel District School Board (PDSB) Regional Learning Choice Programs or the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Secondary Program Review is that its public consultations apparently have not worked as they were supposed to: All the data and feedback have been cherry-picked by the working team.
Apparently, a school board like the PDSB or the TDSB might be too large, having too much power, and could hardly refrain from abusing its power.
Other than to increase student trustees' powers in decision-making to at least half (as talked above), another possible solution is to eliminate Ontario school boards once and for all, just like what has happened in other provinces.
Everyone has freedom to access teaching or learning materials in public education, which shall be available online for free.
When a course in public education is conducted remotely, its live instructions shall be open for the public to watch or observe online, subject to technological limitations and privacy protection to the students.
Course materials in public education, including those in specialized schools and programs, shall be open to the public, and for any interested student to self-learn. A student who self learns and demonstrates capacity may be admitted into the school or program via a special admission process.
Competitions in education shall be open, fair and transparent, and documentation of their rules shall be openly accessible online to the public. In particular, documentation of admission criteria to any public educational institution such as a school, or program should be openly accessible online to the public; and documentation of rubrics for course grading for any course in public education shall be openly accessible online to the public.
Any such documentation shall remain accessible online for an extended period. When it is no longer available online, it shall be archived and permanently retained, and available for access on demand.
The duration of online availability probably shall be 5-10 years.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with their privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon their honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. [The UDHR, Article 12; the Charter, Section 7]
Everyone is free from any use of their privacy information without their giving written consent or authorization for the specific, clear and unequivocal purpose of the use, except such consent or authorization is exempted by the law. When the person is a minor who has not withdrawn from parental control, the written consent or authorization shall not be given without the confirmation of the consent or authorization from their parent or legal guardian.
Everyone is free from any misrepresentation of their privacy information, or any misrepresentation of data derived or aggregated from their privacy information.
It feels the middle paragraph is a bit too specific to be in the main section. It is retained for now, out of our concerns with the alarming wordings (and probably legislative intention too) in the Ontario Anti-Racism Act, 2017, in particular in its accompanying Data Standards. We will elaborate on them at a future time.
Public education in preschool, kindergarten, elementary and secondary levels shall be free. [The UDHR, Article 26 (1); the ICESCR, Article 13 (2) (a) & (b); the Bogota Declaration, Article XII]
Public higher education shall be equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, in particular by the progressive introduction of free education. [The ICESCR, Article 13 (2) (c)].
Everyone who receives an education, other than that established by the Ontario public authorities, as long as it conforms to the minimum educational standards as may be laid down or approved by the public authorities, and its policies, standards and practices are not prohibited by the law, shall be entitled to public educational funding in the amount of the lesser of:
- The actual educational expense incurred to the person, and/or their parent or legal guardian; and,
- The educational funding allocated to one individual in a similar or comparable Ontario public education.
[The ICESCR, Article 13 (3)]
The origin comes from Reference re Bill 30, Adler v. Ontario (Wikipedia entry) & Waldman v. Canada (news, Wikipedia entry), where the Ontario Education Act extended full public funding only to Roman Catholic separate schools, which was upheld to be "constitutional" by the Supreme Court of Canada and yet ruled as a violation with discrimination by the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
This section is to say,
- A student receiving non-public education, under the set conditions, shall be entitled a public educational funding with the amount comparable to that for a student in the counterpart or comparable public education system; and,
- If the said non-public education is more "expensive" than the similar or comparable public education, the said person is not entitled to the exceeding amount.
This section is feasible, at least for elementary and secondary education, on the fact that Ontario's current funding formula for elementary and secondary public education, albeit quite complicated, is largely "per-pupil" based, that is, the amount of public educational funding for a student in a public elementary or secondary school may be calculated under the current centralized funding model. There will be no extra financial cost incurred upon the public, as the per-pupil funding is simply transferred from a public school to a non-public education.
This section is applicable but not limited to denominational, independent or private education.
This section, if implemented, will be significant. It is estimated that currently the per-pupil funding in public education may be 1/3 to 1/2 of the tuition for a prestigious private school in Toronto. If a student may access this amount of educational funding and chooses an independent or private education, the funding may substantively offset the educational expense, and then partially and yet materially remove the barrier for many families to access top-quality independent or private education in Ontario. It also means that choices of programming, and independent or private education could be boosted - Historically in Ontario, private schools often suffered from the instability of funding.
This section shall be extended to:
- Higher education, if similar per-student funding for higher education may be (roughly) calculated.
- Out-of-province or abroad education. The rationale is simple: An Ontario resident, usually a taxpayer who supports the Ontario education system, shall have the freedom and the right to access education anywhere in the world for themselves or their own child(ren), funded by Ontario public educational funding. For higher education, subject to the condition that per-student funding may be estimated, this is the natural extension to the Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs), student financial aids or loans, and the Tuition, Education and Textbook Tax Credits (that have been discontinued after 2016).
- The per-student funding is not only an educational support to the student, but also an indirect financial support to the educational institution where the student is enrolled. Therefore, the per-student public educational funding accessible for out-of-province or abroad higher education shall be discounted. Probably the same principle may apply to out-of-province or abroad secondary education.
- Out-of-province or abroad education includes remote education provided by out-of-province or abroad educational institutions.
This section is consistent and mutually supportive with the "appropriate programming" section and the "globally competitive" section.
A special acknowledgement is dedicated to education experts and advocates who share the main ideal in this section.
Everyone has freedom to appropriate accommodation, and to equal access to need-based financial subsidy for educational, learning or training purposes. [The CRC, Article 28 (1) (b)]
Accommodation should include school busing, or if needed, subsidy for transportation.
A key argument we have learned is that students from wealthy families (of some races) have more access to extracurricular training and learning to prepare themselves for the entrance examinations of specialized schools or programs. The solution for this should be finance based, rather than race based. A possible solution to offset extracurricular learning cost is Universal (Basic) Educational Allowance (UBEA or UEA), which may reimburse the educational expense out of school (or working), up to a maximum annual amount (amortization in an extended period, for instance, 5 or 10 years, is allowed). UBEA/UEA could offset a significant amount of extracurricular learning expenses for a socioeconomically disadvantaged student, and would encourage continuing or lifetime education and learning.
The difference between regular educational funding and UBEA/UEA is that regular educational funding is for core education such as elementary, secondary, or higher education, and UBEA/UEA is an allowance for extracurricular learning, including but not limited to learning/training to prepare for admissions or just for individual interests. UBEA/UEA also encourages continuing and lifetime education.
Educational funding shall be directed to promote the adaptation of latest proven technologies, skills, and knowledge at all levels of education. [The ICESCR, Article 13 (2) (e)]
A significant problem in traditional education patterns is that teachers' skills and knowledge updates are generally slow, and often cannot keep up with latest proven technologies, skills, and knowledge at all levels of education, and accordingly what students learn at schools might be outdated or little practical. Educational funding shall be directed to promote teachers' quick skills and knowledge updates, and/or students' self-learning (the results of the self-learning may be proven by, for instance, learning certificates).
Everyone has the freedom to and of continuing and lifetime education, learning, and training, and educational funding shall be directed to promote such freedom.
Special measures may be taken for the sole purpose of securing adequate advancement of certain groups or individuals requiring such protection as may be necessary in order to ensure such groups or individuals equal enjoyment or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms, only based on the scientific analysis and presentation of the data that are legally and scientifically collected, and provided that such measures do not, as a consequence, lead to the maintenance of separate rights for different groups. [The CERD, Article 1 (4)]
Any such special measures shall be discontinued as soon as the objectives for which they were taken have been achieved. [The CERD, Article 1 (4)]
Everyone or any group shall be free from largely or purely race-based special measures.
Partially or wholly race-based special measures shall be strictly prohibited in pre-higher education.
Affirmative action permitted by the law must be cautiously and scientifically planned, designed and executed.
Generally, affirmative action based merely on ethno-racial factors shall be avoided, unless it is based on a very solid ground with scientific analysis and presentation of data that are legally and scientifically collected, or unless no other base, for instance, socioeconomic one, may be reasonably found or applied. The reasons for this extreme caution are as follow:
- Ontario/Canada does not suffer as much from racial segregation or racial conflicts as our neighouring country, and there is no need to copy racial affirmative action there, in the price of unnecessary damage to the societal "harmony." While it is undeniable that there is racial discrimination, even systemic racial discrimination in Ontario and Canada, it may be hardly argued that there is institutionalized racial discrimination here (the current Anti-Racism Act itself with its accompanying Data Standards, is potentially a judicial framework for institutionalized racism, as we will elaborate on at a future time).
- Solely or blanketly attributing differences among ethno-racial groups to races themselves, itself, well falls into the definition of racism (1 as defined in the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Therefore, largely or purely race-based "affirmative action" or policies are more likely than not a product out of true, often disguised, racism.
- Wealthy families or persons of a race are generally socioeconomically, and often politically, more advantaged than average families or persons of any other race.
- Wealth-based and/or need-based special measures have historically proven to be effective and much less controversial, and shall be preferentially considered over race-based special measures whenever possible.
In particular, race-neutral policies must be upheld for minors. Partially or wholly race-based special measures must be strictly prohibited in pre-higher education. No one is able to sensibly explain to a minor why the minor should be preferentially or disadvantageously treated simply because of their race - "It is no fair (unfair)!" Any such sense of racially different treatment at a young age, either taking for granted the racial preference, or grievance out of the racial oppression, will have lifetime impacts, and potentially jeopardize societal harmony in the long term. Whatever historical debt(s) any race(s) owe(s) to any other race(s), any child(ren) of any race(s) must be entirely free from such debt(s). In at least pre-higher education, we shall never see child(ren) of any particular race(s) while we respect their own racial identification(s), and we shall see only child(ren) of Ontario or Canada. Racially neutral wealth-based and/or need-based special measures, if applicable and on request, shall be sufficient for minors of a historically disadvantaged race to equally access educational resources.
Any other (non-racial) affirmative action in pre-higher education, other than wealth-based and/or need-based special measures, shall be also generally avoided unless it is absolutely necessary on one or more solid, scientific and justified grounds.
For higher education, based on our understanding of Ontario and Canadian history, and our very direct experience in education, employment, and daily life in Ontario, at this moment we tend to believe that affirmative action considering racial factors is not grounded. While we do know of and sometimes experience racial discrimination, race-neutral policies in education and workplaces have been working very well. We would be open for conversation if a scientific and objective report out of data that are legally and scientifically collected shows that such affirmative action is absolutely needed. Any such justified affirmative action in higher education, if applicable, shall not be taken unilaterally by any public officers, or any public authority, without the legitimate mandate by the societal consensus.
(Much) more research should be conducted to propose a set of fundamental principles to regulate affirmative action, in particular racially biased affirmative action, and to prevent it being abused - No education or any other social issues could be seriously conversed if we did not genuinely believe and uphold that everyone as a human being is born in equity regardless of their race.
Everyone is free from unauthorized representation or misrepresentation of the race of their own, or any other race(s).
Everyone is free from unsolicited special measures applicable to them, and has the freedom and the right to decline or resist such special measures.
Each Ontario citizen shall stay alert to any unauthorized representation or misrepresentation by one or a few persons in the name of the whole race of the citizen's, or of any other race(s).
The ultimate purpose of any particular affirmative action is to eliminate itself as early as possible.
The ultimate purpose of affirmative action provisions in the law is to eliminate all forms of affirmative action as early as possible.