Ottawa's public school board wants permission from the Ontario government to create an Indigenous trustee position at the board.
The Ottawa Carleton District School Board will vote on a motion Tuesday from Trustee Wendy Hough to write a letter to the Minister of Education to allow the board to have an Indigenous trustee. The OCDSB committee of the whole approved the proposal earlier this month.
Hough says the board's goal is to develop a culture of caring within Ottawa's largest school board.
"We have committed to building a system capacity in equity and inclusive practice to support education, engagement, and reconciliation with historically marginalized groups," said Hough during an OCDSB committee of the whole meeting on Feb. 9.
Hough noted several boards in Ontario already have indigenous trustees, where the board has established an agreement with the band of the Indigenous students enrolled in that school board.
"The urban reality of the Indigenous students in the OCDSB is that there are no existing agreements with bands and there is, therefore, no individual on the board to represent the interest of our Indigenous students," said Hough.
The York Region District School Board has an Indigenous trustee and an Indigenous student trustee. The Thames Valley District School Board serving the London-area and the Lambton Kent District School Board have Indigenous student trustees.
The 2019-2020 OCDSB study survey found approximately 3.5 per cent of respondents identified as being First Nations, Metis and/or Inuit. The survey showed 274 Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6 students identified as being First Nations, 107 students identified as being Metis and 81 students identified as Inuit. In Grades 7 to 12, 547 students identified as First Nations, 245 students identified as Metis, and 139 identified as Inuit.
The OCDSB committee of the whole voted earlier this month to allow the Indigenous Education Advisory Council to appointment representatives to the committee of the whole and the budget committee at the board.