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  • Confirmation of Residential School Gravesites Demands Action

June 24, 2021

With the confirmation of gravesites in Kamloops in late May of 2021, investigations are now being carried out across Canada. The announcement of an investigation in Saskatchewan has revealed 751 unmarked graves where children and adults were buried at the Marieval Residential School.

ETFO, alongside the families directly affected and Indigenous communities, mourns the loss of these people, many of whom were children torn from their communities and their cultures. ETFO calls on the federal government to take action on calls 71- 76. Survivors have shared these stories for decades, documentation has been available in the Truth and Reconciliation Final Report, Volume 4.

It is time for the Canadian government to acknowledge the recommendations laid out in Volume 4 with respect to the TRC’s Missing Children and Unmarked Burial Project, and grant the dollars needed to fund the work to bring the remaining missing children home. The burden should not be left to the Indigenous communities to do this work alone.

In 2015, ETFO endorsed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and remains committed to supporting educators, communities, and students in continuing these conversations. ETFO’s Healing Conversations resource supports educators in discussing residential schools, the Sixties Scoop and MMIWG.

The official register of student deaths in residential school is 3200. Justice Murray Sinclair, Chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, has said that the true number may be four to five times that of children’s gravesites would be found at Canadian Residential Schools, and the search for these children is likely to reveal more graves in the coming months and years.
ETFO urges all Canadians to continue the work of reconciliation and take action throughout the year by:

Other resources to support educators in their unlearning, learning and re-learning are available on etfofnmi.ca.

  • ETFO-YR Says No to Hybrid

    “It is not possible for teachers to provide students with the support they need in two completely different formats — face-to-face learning for students in classrooms and online learning for students at home — at the same time,” president for Elementary Teachers Federation for York Region Tui-Sem Won said.

Click here for YorkRegion.com news story.

  • June 21 is Indigenous Peoples Day

June 21 is Indigenous Peoples Day; it was formally proclaimed in 1996 by the federal government. This year the day falls on a Monday and provides you with an opportunity to teach and honour the heritage, cultures and contributions made by First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day are a time to walk together as we reflect, engage, celebrate, and learn.

Visit etfofnmi.ca for great educational resources – posters, teacher learning resources, student learning supports, webinars and so much more. 

We also encourage you to check out this list of ways to celebrate the Day virtually and this resource to learn about Indigenous musicians.

  • Inclusion Starts With You - Celebrate Pride Month

ETFO-YR is proud to be a continued supporter of Pride events, and you are invited to join and celebrate PFlag Canada York Region Pride! This year's events are virtual in partnership with York Pride and CAYR Community Connections.


To connect with Pride event organizers across the province review this handy ETFO PDF  and visit the OFL Pride events website for a list of events scheduled in July, August and September.

  • ETFO Statement on Islamophobic hate crime in London, Ontario
  • June 7, 2021

    Our thoughts are with all those impacted by the recent tragedy in London, Ontario, which took the lives of four family members.  We acknowledge the sadness and trauma this incident, motivated by Islamophobia, has caused members of the Muslim community, locally, across Canada and internationally.  We join you and others in demanding justice and action against Islamophobia to ensure a tragedy like this never happens again.

    Police believe they were targeted because of their Islamic faith and have laid first degree murder charges as they understand the heinous, hate-motivated act was premeditated.

    This incident epitomizes the worst form of Islamophobic violence.  The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is deeply concerned about the increasing levels of hate and violence perpetrated against many communities who have been historically marginalized and continue to be underserved today.  We call on ETFO members and the public to denounce all forms of Islamophobia, xenophobia, racism, misogyny, and all other forms of discrimination.  We must continue to fight for justice, raise awareness, confront, and push for action to eliminated all forms of oppression and violence so that everyone feels safe, welcomed and included.

  • ETFO statement on discovery of unmarked graves of 215 Indigenous children in Kamloops
  • There are many grieving the discovery of the unmarked graves of 215 Indigenous children at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) mourns the loss with the communities and families affected by both the direct and intergenerational impact of residential schools. Survivors have been sharing their Truths for decades; though it has been difficult to hear, the past week has confirmed many of their stories.

    Across Canada, flags are being lowered in memory of these 215 children, but we must not forget the thousands of children who were taken from their loved ones and sent to residential schools, never to return home. The news is a devastating reminder of Canada’s national shame: the residential school system.

    The racial injustice did not end with the closing of residential schools; it continued through the Sixties Scoop, the criminal justice system, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), and the lack of access to clean drinking water. It is important to acknowledge these systemic issues that are rooted in white supremacy, and the work that still needs to be done.

    In 2015, ETFO endorsed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and remains committed to supporting educators, communities and students in continuing these conversations. While we renew our call to demand action for reconciliation and justice, we also know this is a moment to engage in learning, but talking about residential schools requires care.

    It is important that we approach this learning in culturally safe and trauma-informed ways to ensure we do not unintentionally perpetuate colonial violence and harm. ETFO’s Healing Conversations resource supports educators in discussing residential schools, the Sixties Scoop and MMIWG.

    As we move into June, National Indigenous History Month, commit to continuing the work of reconciliation and taking action throughout the year by:

  • reading the Calls to Action;
  • reading Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into MMIWG;
  • writing to Members of Parliament to demand clean water for all;
  • reviewing the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation;
  • reading about issues facing Indigenous Peoples in Canada;
  • supporting First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists and authors; and
  • visiting virtual museums.
  • Other resources to support educators in their unlearning, learning and re-learning are available on etfofnmi.ca.

  • 2021-2022 Staffing Timelines
  • 2021-2022 Staffing Timelines (Revised)- Please click here (PDF)

Violent special needs classroom incident still haunts York Region teacher 2 years later
School board weighs best course of action for teachers, students... more

ETFO has launched a new website for ETFO Members Sharing in Assessment

ETFO has another new website to support Junior/Intermediate teachers in bringing
play-based learning to Grades 4-8

  • The website includes lessons by grade, curriculum and types of learning, as well as resources
  • Check it out at http://etfolearn.ca

More Opportunities for Members

  • Check back for regular updates....


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