books on brown wooden shelf
Photo by RDNE Stock project on

Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce has ordered the Peel District School Board (PDSB) to “immediately end [the] practice” of removing books from libraries, after a school in the district was reported to have removed classic books from the school’s library. 

“Ontario is committed to ensuring that the addition of new books better reflects the rich diversity of our communities. It is offensive, illogical and counterintuitive to remove books from years past that educate students on Canada’s history, anti-Semitism or celebrated literary classics,” Lecce said in a statement on Wednesday. 

Yet a review of the education ministry’s policy directive suggests PDSB was acting on the ministry’s direction in conducting the book audit that led to titles being pulled from shelves.

Provincial directive to evaluate books

On November 7, 2019, Lecce requested a review of the PDSB after that board’s former chair and vice-chair requested assistance and intervention from the ministry. 

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Fin DePencier is a journalist, photographer and filmmaker based in Toronto. Over the past few years, he has reported on the ground from Ukraine, Armenia, Lebanon and Kazakhstan as a correspondent for Palladium...