The Implementation of Bill 212 in Ontario Schools: Implications for Black Students




Black youth, Black students, anti-Black racism, student expulsions, student suspensions, secondary school


In February 2008, Bill 212 (Progressive Discipline and School Safety) replaced Bill 81, the Safe Schools Act of June 2000 with regards to the behaviour, discipline, and safety of students. However, since Bill 212 has been in effect, suspensions and expulsions have been unfairly implemented against Black secondary students. Using anti-Black racism (ABR) framework, this commentary paper explores the effects of sections 306–311 of the Bill on Black students within Ontario's secondary school system. Based on this exploration, we will critically examine the way suspensions and expulsions have been employed through Bill 212 and the consequences of these disciplinary measures for Black students. We recommend alternative practices such as restorative justice and the integration of ABR framework to address students’ inappropriate behaviours in the educational system.


Bill 212, An Act to amend the Education Act in respect of behaviour, discipline and safety, 2007, 2nd Session, 38th Legislature, Ontario, 2007.

Boatswain, J. S., & Lalonde, R. (2000). Social identity and preferred ethnic/racial labels for Blacks in Canada. Journal of Black Psychology, 26(2), 216–234. DOI:

Chadha, E., Herbert, S., & Richard, S. (2020, February 28). Review of the Peel District School Board [Letter to the Honourable Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education].

Clarke, J., Hasford, J., Gudge, L., & Mills-Minster, S. (2018). Imagining a community-led, multi-service delivery model for Ontario Child Welfare: A framework for collaboration among African Canadian community partners. Journal of Law and Social Policy, 28(1&2), 42–66.

Dei, G. J. S. (1997). Race and the production of identity in the schooling experiences of African- Canadian youth. Discourse. Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 18(2), 241–257. DOI:

Draaisma, M. (2017, April 24). Black students in Toronto streamed into courses below their ability, report finds. CBC News.

Dumas, J. M., & Ross, M. K. (2016). "Be real black for me": Imagining BlackCrit in education. Urban Education Journal, 51(4), 415–442. DOI:

Farmer, S. (2010). Criminality of Black youth in inner-city schools: “Moral panic,” moral imagination, and moral formation. Race, Ethnicity and Education, 13(3), 367–381. DOI:

Goods, W. (2016). Progressive discipline. Mitigating circumstances and the austerity agenda. VOICE. The Magazine of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario.

Gordon, A. (2017, April 25). Black students hindered by academic streaming, suspension, says report from York University. Toronto Star.

Henry, N. (2019, May 19). Anti-Black racism in Ontario schools: A historical perspective. [Research and Policy Brief No.1]. Turner Consulting Group Inc. policy_brief_-_no_1_may_2019.pdf (

Hussain, S. A. (2015). The effects of Ontario’s safe schools’ policy on racialized students (2000-2013). [Doctoral dissertation, Queen’s University] Hussain_Shaheeda_A_201509_PhD.pdf;sequence=1 (

James, C. (2011). Students "at risk": Stereotypes and the schooling of Black boys. Urban Education Journal, 47(2), 464–494. DOI:

James, C., & Turner, T. (2017). Towards race equity in education: The schooling of Black students in the Greater Toronto Area.

Lewis, S. (1992, June). Report of the advisor on race relations to the Premier of Ontario Bob, Rae.

Lopez, A, E. (2019). Anti-Black racism in education: School leaders' journey of resistance and hope. In R. Papa (Ed.), Handbook on promoting social justice in education (pp. 1935–1950). Springer International. DOI:

Maynard, R. (2017). Policing Black lives. Devaluing Black life, demonizing Black bodies. Fernwood Publishing.

Maynard, R. (2020, June 10). Canadian education is steeped in anti-Black racism. The Walrus.

McGillivray, K. (2019, March 3). A road map for black parents navigating bias in the school system. CBC News.

Milne, E., & Aurini, J. (2017). A tale of two policies: The case of school discipline in an Ontario School Board. Canadian Journal of Education Administration and Policy, 183, 30–43.

Moscovitch, P. (2020, July 24). Anti-Black racism in schools: Still a long way to go. Halifax Examiner.

Naccarato, L. (2017, April 11). Almost half of the TDSB students expelled over the last 5 years are black, report says. CBC News.

Noguera, P. A. (2003). Schools, prisons, and social implications of punishment: Rethinking disciplinary practices. Theory into Practice,42(4), 341–350. DOI:

Pakan, N., & The Society for Safe and Caring Schools and Communities (2007). Restorative justice community/classroom conferencing: A guide for parents and teachers. Alberta Solicitor General and Public Security.

Rankin, J., & Contenta, S. (2009). Suspended sentences: Forging a school-to-prison pipeline? Toronto Star.

Réaume,V., & Fogels, J. (2008). From "zero tolerance" to progressive discipline: Ontario's Bill 212. Education leadership today and tomorrow: The law as friend or foe.

Roher, E. M. (2007). Will safe schools legislation make Ontario schools safer? Education and Law Journal, 17(1), 203–221.

Roher, E. M. (2009, February 24). Has Bill 212 made Ontario schools safer? Lexology.

Sibblis, C. (2014). Expulsion programs as colonizing spaces of exception. Race, Gender, & Class, 21(1/2), 64–81.

Simmons, D. (2020). Confronting trauma/the trauma we don’t see. Education Leadership, 77(8), 1–3.

The Ontario Public Service (2014). Equity and inclusive education in Ontario schools. Guidelines for policy development and implementation.

Turner Consulting Group & The Anti-Black Racism Steering Committee. (2021). Dismantling Anti-Black racism strategy: Creating anti-racist and Black-affirming learning and working environment. Part1: Background report. York Region District School Board.

Turner, T. (2014, October 30). Teacher diversity gap. Turner Consulting Group.

Winton, S. (2012). From zero tolerance to students success in Ontario, Canada. Education Policy, 27(3), 467–498. DOI:

Zheng, S., & De Jesus, S. (2018, January). Effects of restorative practice on suspended pupils' school engagement, academic achievement, and post-secondary destinations. Research & Information Services, Toronto District School Board.




How to Cite

Gateri, H., & Richards, D. (2021). The Implementation of Bill 212 in Ontario Schools: Implications for Black Students. INYI Journal, 11(1).