Race Relations Committee reconstituted with Tanuan and three Filipino-Canadians
Tony A. San Juan, OCT-Retired
The Toronto Catholic District School Board( TCDSB), Canada’s largest Catholic school system in terms of student population, has reconstituted its Race Relations Committee as the “Special Board Advisory Committee on Race Relations” on March 10, 2022. The Race Relations Committee was established on August 20, 2020, based on a motion by Trustee Garry Tanuan, in response to the rising systemic causes of racial discrimination, disproportioned representation of racialized communities, bullying, and harassment against members of the TCDSB community. It is aligned with the Ontario Ministry of Education’s announcement of a “series of initiatives to address and combat systemic racism that affects racialized bodies, particularly the Black and Indigenous communities.”
Historically, according to the motion, the TCDSB has a “history of Race Relations and Equity Policies and Practices since 1984. Recent trends, however, suggested a need to reintroduce past mechanisms to assist in eradicating racial and systemic discrimination.” The TCDSB passed several motions to “address Anti-Racism and Inclusive Education” and one of them is the formation of the current Special Board Advisory Committee on Race Relations (SBACRR).
Trustee Garry Tanuan of Ward 8 (Scarborough-Rouge Park/Scarborough North) was appointed Chair of SBACRR by the 12 board members. Tanuan heads the Special Advisory Committee with 16 members composed of six Trustees, four community representatives, two staff representatives, two parent representatives, and two student representatives. The Filipino-Canadians appointed to the Committee are Aileen Santiago (Staff), Marissa Largo (Parent), and Tony A. San Juan( Community). A subcommittee has been stroked to develop and recommend to the Board a “Term of Reference” stipulating among other things, its mandate, objective & goals, composition, leadership, term, meeting procedure, and reporting responsibilities.
Garry Tanuan is the only Filipino-Canadian on the TCDSB’s 12-member Board of Trustees. He was first elected in 2012 and re-elected twice in the 2014 and 2018 civic municipal elections in the province. As a trustee, Tanuan, together with an Area School Superintendent, has been serving and engaging diligently the students, staff, and parents of 20 Catholic elementary schools and two high schools in Scarborough, Toronto. Tanuan is also a Trustee-member of the Board’s Filipino Advisory Committee and a Vice-President of the Filipino Heritage Council of Canada (FHCC).
The TCDSB Mission, with 92,000 students, 14,000 staff, 196 schools (165 elementary, 29 high schools & 2 combined schools), and 475,000 school supporters, is “an inclusive learning community uniting home, parish, and school and rooted in the love of Christ….by educating students to grow in grace and knowledge to lead lives of faith, hope and charity”. Its Vision is “we transform the world through witness, faith, innovation, and action”.