Ontario to make Holodomor education mandatory for high school students

Government of Ontario
Press release

TORONTO —The Ontario government is introducing new mandatory learning in the Grade 10 Canadian History course about the Holodomor famine and its impact on the Ukrainian community in Canada. This new learning will elevate Canadian values focused on embracing democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law. The new curriculum will ensure all students learn about the adverse consequences of extreme political ideologies like those from Stalin’s totalitarian communist regime, designed to ensure students learn from history.

Beginning in September 2025, the new learning will outline how the Holodomor, also known as the Great Ukrainian Famine, was a result of totalitarian policies of the Communist Soviet Union leading to a man-made famine in Ukraine that killed millions of Ukrainians between 1932 to 1933.

Students will also learn about how extreme ideologies enabled mass-scale political repressions through widespread intimidation, arrests and imprisonment, along with the impact of this genocide on the Ukrainian community in Canada.

“The rise of extremism, including Communism and Marxism, are direct threats to our democracy, social cohesion and values as Canadians,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “I am determined to strengthen education on our shared values, including by mandating learning about the horrors of state-sponsored persecution of Ukrainians in the Holodomor in Grade 10 Canadian History. This learning will help ensure students are never bystanders in the face of such horrors, understand the danger of totalitarianism and help safeguard fundamental Canadian values of freedom and democracy over communist extremism.”

To reinforce this learning, Ontario is investing $400,000 in the Canada-Ukraine Foundation to support the Holodomor National Awareness Tour and the Holodomor Mobile Classroom (HMC), a 40-foot mobile recreational vehicle (RV) with interactive hands-on lessons designed to engage students and assist in teaching about the Holodomor. The Holodomor Mobile Classroom travels to schools across the province and will engage up to 4,000 students in Grades 6 to 12 through experiential learning directly linked to the Ontario curriculum.

“The Ukrainian Canadian community is thankful that the truth about the Holodomor and the millions of innocent Ukrainians who starved to death in 1932-33 under the Stalinist Russian regime, will now be taught widely in Ontario schools,” said Peter Schturyn, the president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Toronto.

“It is more important than ever as Russia today continues to use food as a weapon by bombing Ukrainian grain silos and laying land mines in farmers fields.”

Following Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, the Ontario Government took action to stand with the people of Ukraine, including by ensuring every child seeking protection in Canada from war could immediately enter publicly funded schools at no cost, along with the extension of trauma and mental health resources in their language. These actions are part of Ontario’s ongoing commitment to strengthening education to combat the sharp rise of hate afflicting Canadian societies and schools. It includes new supports and resources for Ontario students and educators and complements new expanded mandatory learning about the Holocaust in the Grade 10 Canadian History course to be introduced in September 2025.

New mandatory learning about the Holocaust is also being taught in the Grade 6 Social Studies curriculum and new and expanded learning will be taught in the Grade 10 History course starting in September 2025.

According to Statistics Canada, in the 2021 census, approximately 1.26 million people or nearly 3.5 per cent of the Canadian population reported at least one of their ethnic origins as Ukrainian. This includes more than 342,000 Ontarians.