Ontario Supporting Newcomer Families and Combatting Racism in Schools

Published on April 06, 2022

Investments will help Arabic-speaking children transition to Ontario school system.

Mississauga — The Ontario government is expanding much-needed culturally responsive programs to support the educational needs and outcomes of Arabic-speaking refugee and newcomer children and youth as they integrate into the Ontario education system.

In addition, these new investments will help newcomers combat racism and hate when it’s encountered in the school community, expand their ability to build connections with their school communities in a post-pandemic environment and help parents/families support their child by increasing their confidence and mental health.

Joined by Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, Sheref Sabawy, MPP for Mississauga-Erin Mills announced:

  • $142,387 to Anba Abraam Charity to create customized and culturally responsive English as a Second Language (ESL) lessons and programming that support the education needs and outcomes of Arabic-speaking refugee and newcomer children and youth in Grades 6 to 11 in Peel Region. These materials will also promote positive social interactions to support student well-being.
  • $104,500 to the Canadian Egyptian Heritage Association (CEHA) to design and deliver workshops and web-based materials to support newcomer children/youth in Grades 7 to 10 and their parents/guardians living in the Greater Toronto Area on how to combat racism and hate in schools.

These investments are part of the government’s Priorities and Partnerships Funding (PPF) which target investments that prioritize the success of our students in the classroom and beyond. This partnership with innovative Ontario-based organizations helps improve language skills and directly support students through their education.

We are taking action to support the many Arabic-speaking refugees and newcomer children who face difficulty learning a new language and to ensure they overcome discrimination within our schools and communities,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “By expanding language programs and combating racism head-on, we are breaking down barriers to ensure all students — including those new to our country — succeed in the classroom and graduate with confidence that they can get a good paying job here in Ontario.”

“Today, our government is committing to support young Arabic-speaking newcomers integrate into Canadian society by providing them with culturally-specific educational programs," said Sabawy. "These partnerships between our government and local community organizations will make a tremendous difference in the lives of immigrant families. Our government will stop at nothing to ensure that all Ontario residents, especially our youth, have opportunities for success.”

“Our government is committed to ensuring that everyone can prosper in our province and feel a sense of belonging, including students making a new start in Ontario,” said Parm Gill, Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism, responsible for the Anti-Racism Directorate. “Young people are our future, so we are actively working to remove any barriers in their way and end all forms of racism, discrimination and hate so they can reach their full potential. Together, we will make Ontario a safer, more inclusive place to be.”

“I am happy to hear that our government is supporting newcomers and expanding cultural educational programs for Arabic-speaking children and youth” Nina Tangri, MPP for Mississauga-Streetsville said. “This investment will support the educational needs of Arabic-speaking children & youth, and allow them to better integrate into the Ontario education system. Moreover, this new investment will also help newcomers combat racism and hate in schools and help parents/families support their child.”

These investments are part of a broader provincial plan to combat hate and build safer and more inclusive communities through prevention and public awareness initiatives. Ontario has invested in several other initiatives to address systemic racism, hate and discrimination including:

  • Directing $6.4 million toward equity-related projects as part of the Safe Return to Class Fund
  • Investing $800,000 annually in One Vision, One Voice, a community-led initiative with a focus on anti-Black racism.


  • To further protect against racism and hate, the government launched the Ontario Grant to Support Anti-Hate Security Measures for Faith-Based and Cultural Organizations. This $25-million investment helped eligible organizations cover expenses related to security and safety measures, as well as respond to hate-motivated violence.
  • The Ministry of Citizenship and Multiculturalism is seeking public input into the province’s Anti-Racism Strategic Plan. The consultations help inform programs supporting public education and awareness, community collaboration and anti-racism initiatives.
  • Last year, the Ontario government provided $340,000 to support community-led equity programs and initiatives that combat anti-Asian racism and discrimination. The initiatives help ensure students learn in more inclusive classrooms and are supported by their educators and communities.
  • In January 2022, Ontario invested $48,950 in the Canadian Tamil Academy to provide Tamil students with information and resources to address mental health issues, cope with stress, build resilience and implement self-care strategies.
  • Ontario requires all school boards to have an anti-bullying policy in place to help foster more welcoming and supportive school communities. As announced in November 2021, for the first time, there are specific references regarding religiously motivated discrimination, such as anti-Islamophobia and antisemitism.