At the June 16, 2021 meeting of the Halton District School Board, Trustees unanimously approved a motion to rename Ryerson Public School on Woodview Road in Burlington in accordance with the Board’s Naming and Renaming Schools Policy and Governance Procedure.
The renaming process will begin in September 2021 to ensure the parent/guardian, student and broader community has the opportunity to provide their input. The process to rename the school will be completed by the end of November 2021. The current exterior school sign will be covered until a new name is chosen. Information and signage will also be posted to indicate a renaming process will take place in Fall 2021.
As part of the Board motion, the Chair of the Board will also send a letter to the Mayor of Burlington to inform her of the initiation of the HDSB process to rename the school, as the community park adjacent to the school bears the same name.
Ryerson Public School was named after Egerton Ryerson for his contributions to the Ontario education system, however, Ryerson was also instrumental to the design of Canada’s residential school system. In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada concluded this assimilation amounted to the genocide of Indigenous people.
There have been growing calls to remove Ryerson’s name from public buildings and institutions and the HDSB has received formal requests to remove Ryerson’s name from the school. At their June 16, 2021 meeting, Trustees also heard a delegation from a Ryerson Public School parent in support of renaming the school.
As part of the HDSB’s Multi-Year Strategic Plan 2020-2024
, the Board has committed to champion supportive and inclusive practices, and to promote knowledge and understanding of Indigenous perspectives and realities. One of the first steps taken is to assess how the HDSB can raise awareness.
“As Trustees, we need to lead by example and have the courage to approach these difficult conversations,” says Chair Andréa Grebenc. “As years have gone by and truths have been uncovered, we have a responsibility, in collaboration with our staff and communities, to reevaluate past decisions and address accordingly.
“The perspectives of the diverse communities of Halton must be valued and honoured. Indigenous students, staff and the broader community should be able to enter a school without being harmed by the HDSB upholding the name of a person that has contributed to genocide.”
For additional information, contact:
Andréa Grebenc, Chair
Halton District School Board