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About the AEC

Launch of the Aboriginal Education Council

The University held a celebration to officially launch its Aboriginal Education Council (AEC) on October 6, 2010 and, at the same time, presented a statement acknowledging the connection between Egerton Ryerson, the University's namesake, and Indian Residential Schools. This statement can be found below in the Egerton Ryerson and Indian Residential Schools dropdown menu below.

The Aboriginal Education Council membership is primarily comprised of Aboriginal students, faculty and staff representatives from Ryerson University from departments across campus, which include: Office of Aboriginal Initiatives (OAI), the School of Social Work, Human Resources and Ryerson Aboriginal Student Services.

The Aboriginal Education Council also has key partner members from strategic areas on campus; the Learning and Teaching Office (LTO), Student Affairs (SA), Admissions and Recruitment and Equity and Community Inclusion (ECI).

In addition, the AEC also sees participation from partners in Toronto's Aboriginal community from the First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI), the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), Toronto York Region Metis Council (TYRMC) and others.

MEMBERS 2017/18:  

Dr. Cyndy Baskin, AEC Chair, Associate Professor – School of Social Work, Academic Coordinator – Aboriginal Knowledges and experiences Certificate- Chang School of Continuing Education

Joanne Dallaire, LLD, AEC Ryerson Elder

Monica McKay, Director, Office of Aboriginal Initiatives

John Austin, Interim Vice-Provost, Students

Dr. Denise O'Neil-Green, Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion (ECI)  

Tracey King, Aboriginal Human Resources Consultant, Office of Aboriginal Initiatives, Ryerson University

Charmaine Hack, University Registrar

Adam Hopkins, Vice-President, Enrolment Management and Student Services, First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI), external link

Dr. Julie Ann Tomiak, Assistant Professor, Sociology

Curtis Maloley, Educational Developer, Learning and Teaching Office (LTO)

Shane N. Young, Contract Faculty, School of Social Work

Jolyssa Killbride, MSW Student, School of Social Work

Christian Wells, Undergrad Student - Social Work, Student Affairs Director – Indigenous Students Association (ISA), external link

Phyllis McKenna, Part-time student – Aboriginal Knowledges and Experiences Certificate, Vice President Equity and Campaigns - Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson (CESAR), external link, Chairperson - Canadian Federation of Students (CFS)

Autumn Gaurisco, Undergrad Student - Social Work

Bronte Campbell, Undergrad Student – Journalism

Jamie Lee Morin, Ryerson Alumni - English

Marilyn Hew, Secretary/Treasurer, Toronto and York Region Metis Council (TYRMC), external link

Katie Longboat, Child and Youth Counsellor, Aboriginal Education Centre (AEC),, external link Toronto District School Board

Valarie John, Cultural Community Outreach Liaison Officer, Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC), external link

Julia Candlish, Director of Education, Chiefs of Ontario (COO), external link

Image from page 259 of "Canada: an encyclopædia of the country; the Canadian dominion considered in its historic relations, its natural resources, its material progress and its national development, by a corps of eminent writers and specialists" (1898)

Ryerson University is named for Egerton Ryerson (1803-1882), a prominent figure in 19th-century Canada who played an influential role in the fields of politics, religion, arts, sciences and perhaps most significantly, education. Egerton Ryerson was instrumental in the establishment of a free and compulsory public education system in Ontario. This was the foundation of the province’s modern school system and served to revolutionize education in Canada.

Because of Egerton Ryerson’s achievements, particularly in establishing the public education system we know today, the institution that would eventually become Ryerson University was named for him at its founding in 1948.

Ryerson University is proud of its history and of the contribution its namesake, Egerton Ryerson, made to Ontario’s public education system. However, while Egerton Ryerson supported free and compulsory education, he also believed in different systems of education for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children. These beliefs influenced, in part, the establishment of what became the Indian Residential School system that has had such a devastating impact on First Nations, Métis and Inuit people across Canada. While Egerton Ryerson did not implement or oversee Indian Residential Schools, his ideas were used by others to create their blueprint. It is important to acknowledge this connection and in so doing emphasize the university’s ongoing and proactive commitment to respectful relationships with Aboriginal communities, both within and outside Ryerson University, and to continuing to build and maintain a campus environment that welcomes and respects Aboriginal people.

To view a longer report on Egerton Ryerson and Indian Residential Schools prepared by members of the AEC, please PDF filedownload the PDF.

2018       Alanis Obomsawin, filmmaker, artist and activist

2017       Cindy Blackstock, Activist, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society      

2013      The Honorable Justice Murray Sinclair

2012      Shawn Atleo, National chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN).

2011      Joanne H. Dallaire, a traditional healer and a pipe carrier

              Phil Fontaine, Past National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations

2005     Hon. James K. Bartleman, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario


For a full list of the notable Canadians to receive an honorary degree from Ryerson University, please visit: