Toronto District School Board to take steps to ban caste-based discrimination

Sri Lankan Tamil and Indian diaspora communities in Canada have seemingly engaged in caste discrimination among themselves and the Toronto District School Board has become the first school board in the country to take steps towards banning discrimination based on caste.

The move has attracted both passionate support and intense criticism and has divided South Asian Communities.

This week, the School Board voted 16-to-5 in favour of asking the Ontario Human Rights Commission to “assess and provide a
framework for addressing caste oppression” in public education.

In Toronto, and throughout the diaspora communities, there are “documented cases of caste-based discrimination” according to the motion submitted to the School Board. While the motion was supported by some members of the South Asian community, others had voiced concern that it may lead to ethnic profiling of South Asians.

This was not the first time the Toronto District School Board has taken decisions that could be termed as divisive. It has continued to mark “Tamil Genocide Education Week” for a number of years now, resulting in the Ontario Legislative Assembly adopting a resolution last year to recognise the event with special emphasis on what they call the “genocide” of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Ironically, the official language of Ontario is English, unlike French speaking Quebec.

Sunday Times, SL

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