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Historic Bill to create Indigenous school boards could pass this summer

Gilles Bisson is working to make history in Ontario with a new Bill before Queen’s Park. Bisson is spearheading a project to give Indigenous communities the opportunity to create their own school boards. Bisson says one of the biggest aspects of the Bill is to create equal funding across Ontario, and to give kids on reserves the same education system a kid in Timmins has.

Right now, schools in Timmins get double the amount of funding per student than schools do in a place like Attawapiskat.

As of now, the federal government handles Indigenous schools, but Bisson says the province could do a better job of it. He says the schools could potentially have access to more resources, have more power at the bargaining table and still be able to teach in in their language, exactly like Francophone boards.

The boards wouldn’t be forced, communities would have the option to opt in or not. But, Bisson says once they do opt in they’d be able to negotiate to develop a curriculum, while teaching in their own language.

The Bill could potentially be passed by September.

(With files from: Greg Rosser)

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