As we commemorate Remembrance Week (November 5 to 11), it is more important than ever for Ontario students to learn, value and demonstrate pride in the service and sacrifices made by generations of Canadian veterans.
From Canada’s most recognized heroisms in the Battle of Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele during the First World War in 1917, to the battle along the beaches of Normandy in 1944 during the Second World War, to the victorious Battle of Kapyong in 1951 during the Korean War, to the 40,000 Canadians that served in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014 – we will remember them. We also honour the current Canadian Armed Forces serving in missions around the world to keep us safe at home and abroad.
Legions across Ontario have started their Poppy Campaign to wear a poppy as a visible pledge to honour Canada’s veterans and remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. It is important to profile local veterans and service members and recognize the ordinary nature of our Canadian Armed Forces members who made extraordinary contributions to peace and security.
Together, we can help ensure young people further support the Poppy Campaign through education, understanding of our history, and an embrace of our shared humanity as Canadians. It is our solemn duty to remember their sacrifices and carry on their heritage of freedom. That is why I am directing all school boards to embrace the Poppy Campaign by wearing a poppy that demonstrates for all students pride in country, Canada’s flag and greater appreciation for our democratic values.
To safeguard our democracy and to enhance pride in citizenship, we revised the Grade 10 Civics and Citizenship course in 2022 to strengthen civic literacy and skills, to help instil principles of duty and service, personal responsibility, and develop the critical thinking skill sets that will protect Canada’s democratic character for generations.
We encourage all boards to utilize available curriculum resources that help students learn about Canada’s proud history and about the values that make up the cornerstones of our nation. Boards are strongly encouraged to support their local legion, Poppy Campaigns, and attend or host Remembrance Day ceremonies, so students can meet veterans and current serving Canadian Forces members at commemorative ceremonies held across the province. Local ceremonies can be found online through the Legion website.
As we mark the 70th Anniversary of the Korean War this year, curriculum teaching resources can be found through the Ontario History and Social Sciences Teachers’ Association.
Other resources to be used in your classroom can be found on Veterans Affairs Canada at Veterans’ Week and Remembrance Day Learning Resources and the Ontario Remembrance Day website.
Thank you for your meaningful collaboration as we work together to ensure ‘We Will Remember Them’.
Lest we forget.
Minister of Education