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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.


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), opens in new window  

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, opens in new window

Curtis Maloley, Educational Developer, Learning and Teaching Office (LTO), opens in new window

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

Riley Kucheran, PhD Student

Sarah Dennis, Undergrad Student - Social Work, Financial Director – Indigenous Students Association (ISA), external link, opens in new window

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

Jamie Lee Morin, Ryerson Alumni - English

Kyle Edwards, Ryerson Alumni - Journalism

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

Darrell Bowden, Education and Awareness Coordinator, Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

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.

Egerton Ryerson Plaque Unveiling

The plaque was first unveiled in January 2018. The Aboriginal Education Council, the Office of the Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion, and the Ryerson community, including students,  were involved in the formal installation at a public event on June 25, held on Gould Street beneath the statue.

The plaque reads:

"This plaque serves as a reminder of Ryerson University's commitment to moving forward in the spirit of truth and reconciliation. Egerton Ryerson is widely known for his contributions to Ontario's public educational system. As Chief Superintendent of Education, Ryerson's recommendations were instrumental in the design and implementation of the Indian Residential School System. In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission reported that children in the schools were subjected to unthinkable abuse and neglect, to medical experimentation, punishment for the practice of cultures or languages and death. The aim of the Residential School System was cultural genocide."

Read the full story of the plaque unveiling here

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: