In an effort to address “historic disproportionalities,” the Peel District School Board (PDSB) in Ontario will give students preferential treatment in the admission process into specialty programs based on their skin colour and ethnic background. 

As part of the PDSB’s WeRiseTogether initiative, Regional Learning Choice Programs – specialty programs that allow students to develop skills in a particular area of interest – will allow self-identifying African, Afro-Caribbean, Black, First Nations, Inuit and Métis students to bypass the program’s random selection process and by automatically accepted. 

This bypass process would apply to speciality programs like International Business and Technology (IBT), International Baccalaureate (IB), and Arts.

Traditionally, PDSB students transitioning from an elementary school to a middle school, or a middle school to a high school, are expected to submit an application for their desired program. If the student meets the necessary academic criteria, the student is entered into a random selection process.

On the PDSB’s website explaining the new admission process, the board cites the need for “equity and inclusion for all.” 

“Admission to regional programs will reflect the need to address historically and statistically significant disproportionalities in enrollment as per student census data, ensuring equitable representation of African, Black, Afro-Caribbean, First Nations, Inuit and Métis students,” it reads.

True North reached out to the PDSB for comment but did not receive a response prior to publication.