A new standard requiring teachers to commit to truth and reconciliation is being implemented in B.C. schools in the hope of giving Indigenous students more support.

The new standard expects teachers to integrate First Nations, Inuit and Métis perspectives with all subjects while also understanding the diverse needs of Indigenous students. 

“Education is key to a true and lasting reconciliation, and educators are essential role models for change,” said Minister of Education Rob Fleming in a news release. 

“We want to ensure students have the opportunity to learn Indigenous perspectives throughout all subjects in their school career. That’s why it’s imperative our teachers commit to the highest standards when it comes to respecting and valuing the role of Indigenous peoples.”

According to the province, this is the first time that the Professional Standards for B.C. Educators, which are part of a code of conduct for licensed teachers in B.C., have included commitments to truth and reconciliation. 

Included in the standards are expectations that teachers will contribute to healing with Indigenous communities and examine their own biases in an effort to facilitate change. 

“Seven of the 94 Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action are focused on education,” said Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Scott Fraser. 

“They highlight how foundational education is to making reconciliation part of the fabric of our society. This new teaching certification means that current and future generations of school children will come through our education system with a firm grounding on why reconciliation with Indigenous peoples is so important to the future of our province.” 

This fall, the provincial government is expected to introduce legislation that will implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Afterwards, all provincial laws and policies will be required to align with the declaration.