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Issue #143
October, 2021

Socioeconomic inequalities in psychological distress and suicidal behaviours among Indigenous Peoples living off-reserve in Canada

Source: CMAJ 2019 March 25;191:E325-36. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.181374


BACKGROUND: Indigenous Peoples in Canada have high rates of psychological distress and suicide. We sought to assess the socioeconomic inequalities in psychological distress and suicidal behaviours, and the factors that explain them within Indigenous peoples living off-reserve.

INTERPRETATION: Substantial income related inequalities in psychological distress and suicidal behaviours exist among Indigenous peoples living off reserve in Canada. Policies designed to address major contributing factors such as food insecurity and income may help reduce these inequalities.

Curriculum and Reconciliation: Introducing Indigenous Perspectives into K-12 Science

Source: Conference Board of Canada

Focus: K-12

Summary: In the years following the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, all kinds of teaching materials and pedagogical advice have been produced to help teachers incorporate Indigenous perspectives in their classrooms. However, without endorsement by provincial curricula, these resources have had limited impact. If education is to support reconciliation and effectively integrate Indigenous learners, it will require reforms that go beyond the production of new teaching materials. Curriculum reform has to drive change.

To better understand the state of science curriculum reform across Canada, we scanned Canadian K–12 science curriculum for references to Indigenous perspectives, and talked with a range of experts involved with science educational renewal.

Curriculum and Reconciliation: Introducing Indigenous Perspectives into K–12 Science briefly and visually outlines the landscape of school science curricula across the country. Several jurisdictions integrate Indigenous content, perspectives, and ways of knowing, while others have yet to include references to Indigenous perspectives.

Empowering the Spirit: Educational Resource to Support Reconciliation

Source: Alberta Regional Professional Development Consortia (ARPDC)

Focus: Intermediate, Senior

Summary: First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students experience greater success as engaged participants in learning that is authentic and connected to their personal values and life experiences. First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students, families, and communities need to feel that curricula honours their perspectives, histories, languages, and cultures.

This website provides support for all levels within school jurisdictions to increase awareness, understanding and application of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit histories, perspectives, and ways of knowing for the purpose of implementing treaty and residential schools education and Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action for education.

Healing Conversations – A Learning Journey from the Heart

Source: ETFO (Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario)

Summary: Colonial practices inflicted on Indigenous Peoples caused a direct and intergenerational disruption in the lives of many children and families. Due to their sensitive nature, learning and teaching about residential schools, the Sixties Scoop and missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) can be challenging.

This resource combines a learning journey that includes heart-to-heart conversations on healing and moving forward. It also includes three featured educational resources specific to each topic for instructional use, and a self-care approach to learning and teaching about each.

Decolonizing Possibilities in Special Education Services

Source: Yee, N. L., & Butler, D. L. (2020). Decolonizing Possibilities in Special Education Services. Canadian Journal of Education/Revue Canadienne De l’éducation43(4), 1071-1103. Retrieved from

Summary: Colonial contexts continue to shape the experiences of Indigenous students, especially in special education, even as educators work to respond to Indigenous perspectives. In this article we first apply a decolonizing critique to consider how colonialism affects special education programming, then survey Indigenous and decolonizing scholarship to (re)imagine how educators may start to address these concerns. Our analysis suggests that educators (1) engage in critical self-examination, (2) adopt holistic assessment strategies, (3) explore teaching practices emerging from decolonizing perspectives, and (4) examine and (re)imagine service delivery models. Educators may use these ideas as a springboard for exploring more contextualized decolonizing possibilities.

COVID-19 and Education Disruption in Ontario: Emerging Evidence on Impacts

Source: Gallagher-Mackay, Kelly; Srivastava, Prachi; Underwood, Kathryn; Dhuey, Elizabeth; McCready, Lance; Born, Karen; Maltsev, Antonina; Perkhun, Anna; Steiner, Robert; Barrett, Kali; and Sander, Beate, “COVID-19 and Education Disruption in Ontario: Emerging Evidence on Impacts” (2021). Law and Society Faculty Publications.

Summary:  Key Messages

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant education disruption in Ontario. This has included mass and localized school closures, multiple models of educational provision, and gaps in support for students with disabilities. The unequal distribution of school closures and pandemic associated hardships, particularly affecting low-income families in which racialized and Indigenous groups, newcomers and people with disabilities are overrepresented, appear to be deepening and accelerating inequities in education outcomes, wherever data have been collected. Further, there are health risks associated with closures including significant physical, mental health and safety harms for students and children.

Modeling suggests long-term impacts on students’ lifetime earnings and the national economy. There are substantial data gaps on the impact of closures on Ontario’s children. However, existing information and analysis can inform strategies to minimize further pandemic disruptions to children’s education and development. Identifying or tracking areas where students are facing the greatest challenges in the wake of COVID-19 and implementing systematic supports to address pandemic-associated educational harms are critical to minimizing the overall impact and supporting recovery.

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