In a historic move, Canada is taking steps towards addressing caste-based discrimination, as the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) considers implementing an anti-caste law in its schools. The proposed law aims to prevent caste-based discrimination and promote inclusivity among students. This is the first of its kind in North America.
Caste-based discrimination has been an ongoing issue in South Asian communities, with some students experiencing bullying and harassment due to their caste status.
According to The Globe and Mail report, Vijay Puli, executive director of the South Asian Dalit Adivasi Network (SADAN), says that even though Dalit immigrants departed from India, in Canada, caste evil has followed them. “There is a lot of caste discrimination in Canada. Not just in schools, but in workplaces too. Casteist slurs are regularly used in schools. It happens through cultural practices, social settings, and in rituals and traditions,” he said.
The TDSB’s initiative has encountered stiff opposition. A petition to stop the motion has been established by the Canadian Organization for Hindu Heritage Education (COHHE). The group claims that it is anti-Hindu to include caste on the list of protected identities.
The anti-caste law would provide a formal framework for the TDSB to address caste-based discrimination and promote inclusivity. It would also send a message to other institutions in Canada and around the world that caste-based discrimination is unacceptable and that steps must be taken to prevent it.
The implementation of an anti-caste law would be a positive step towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society. It is hoped that the TDSB will take this opportunity to show leadership on this issue and create a safe learning environment for all students, regardless of their caste status.