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Building a Culture of
Human Rights at WRDSB

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Here at WRDSB, we’re moving our commitment to building a culture of human rights from words to action through an initiative that Ministry of Education staff in attendance praised as being the first-of-its-kind in Ontario to bring together Trustees, senior staff, union, professional association leaders and senior management for focused learning about Human Rights.


In October and November 2023, Trustees and staff came together for four days of learning with experts from a range of fields that touched on human rights in public education. We were pleased to be joined by colleagues from the Waterloo Catholic District School Board to share in the learning.

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Led by staff from the WRDSB Human Rights Branch, including Human Rights and Equity Advisor Deepa Ahluwalia, Human Rights Investigator Leah Martin, and Human Rights Officers Esther Wainaina and Kim Radersma, this was a novel and innovative school board professional development event in Ontario.


It exemplifies the WRDSB’s holistic approach to better supporting the academic success of the students we serve. We’re transforming education by ensuring that human rights is foundational to their achievement and well-being.


Patrick Case, Assistant Deputy Minister for the Ontario Ministry of Education, spoke to the group about the importance of creating formal structures in public school boards for the purposes of supporting human rights, and actioning commitments to uphold the Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC).


Attendees also had the chance to learn from: 

  • Barrington Walker, Vice Provost Equity and Inclusion, Professor of History

  • Susan Ursel, Ursel Phillips Fellows Hopkinson LLP

  • Ruth Goba, Former Interim Chief Commissioner, OHRC/Consultant

  • Amanda Dimilta, Senior Policy Advisor, Education Equity Secretariat

  • Grace Vaccarelli, Lawyer, Investigator

  • Njeri Damali Sojourner-Campbell, Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP

  • Evon Gayle, Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP

  • Jen St. Germain, Chief Strategy Officer, Métis Nation of Ontario


Human Rights at WRDSB

The Human Rights Branch supports the Board in fostering inclusive and respectful learning and working environments for students, staff, trustees and other Board community members

The Human Rights Branch can:

  • Help you understand the Human Rights policy

  • Answer any questions you might have about sharing your concern

  • Describe other policies and procedures that can be used to address your concern

  • Commit to a process that is fair

  • Talk about all the ways your concerns can be addressed

  • Investigate complaints

  • Let you know about supports available at the WRDSB or in the community

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