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Hon. Stephen Lecce – Standing Up For What’s Right: Reflections on Leadership, Resilience & Change

Friday, December 8, 2023

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Putting Ontario students first and building a transparent and accountable school system that enshrines the voice of parents, restores common sense, and stands up for Canadian values.

In an ever-changing global market, how is Ontario setting students up for success and ensuring schools are focused on what matters most? A school system that gives students real life and job skills that help them succeed in and outside of the classroom. As part of this commitment, discover how Ontario is championing skilled trades and apprenticeships, providing students with diverse pathways to success.

Join Ontario’s Minister of Education, Hon. Stephen Lecce, for a fireside chat conversation to engage in a thoughtful discussion about the necessity to drive change and how the province is creating better schools, focused on improved student outcomes that meet the economic and labour market needs of our country for generations to come.

headshot of Hon. Stephen Lecce

Hon. Stephen Lecce

Minister of Education, Government of Ontario

Stephen is the proud son of immigrants, born and raised in Vaughan, a community that he continues to call home.

His first experience in politics came in his hometown of Vaughan where he was involved in the 1999 election of the late MPP Al Palladini. Since then, he served as the Chief Spokesperson to Canada’s 22nd Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, where he advanced Canadian economic, trade and security interests on the world stage. He was later elected to the Ontario Legislature in 2018 where he was concurrently appointed Parliamentary Assistant to the Ministry of Infrastructure, Deputy Government House Leader, and to keep him on his toes, they also added Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier. One year later, in 2019, he was appointed to Cabinet. Not ironically, Stephen was appointed as the youngest Minister of Education in Ontario history and today remains one of the longest serving cabinet Ministers in the Ontario Government.

As Minister of Education, Stephen is relentless in his drive for reform, accountability, higher academic standards, and a refocused education system emphasizing Back to Basics and common sense. At his core, Stephen believes strongly in being a challenge function to government, school boards and unions — insisting on advancing the interests of students and their working parents over special interests and the loudest voices in the room. In short, Stephen is working to raise standards and the ambitions of our kids.

That is why he abolished seniority-based hiring and restored a meritocracy when it comes to hiring educators. He initiated Canada’s first mandatory anti-sex trafficking plan in schools, signed a better deal with the federal Government to lower child care fees for all families, and destreamed the entire grade nine curriculum, as well as introduced sweeping accountability reforms on school boards to empower parental voices.

Stephen overhauled the entire curriculum — including the mandating of financial literacy across every grade. Under Minister Lecce’s leadership, all students now learn personal budgeting, coding, cursive writing, robotics, and critical learning on mental health, drugs and vaping. He is also deeply committed to the advancement of Canadian values and democratic principles, underscored by his work in Tunisia to promote democracy after the Arab Spring uprising. That is in part why Stephen delivered an overhauled Civics curriculum and made history as the first Minister in Canada to mandate Holocaust education, so that the next generation of Canadians are not doomed to repeat our history.

With an emphasis on getting back to basics, Stephen is focused on strengthening life and job skills in the classroom, so that students graduate as financially literate, technologically savvy, emotionally intelligent leaders, ready for the jobs of tomorrow.

headshot of Hon. Lisa  Raitt, P.C

Hon. Lisa Raitt, P.C

Vice-Chair, Global Investment Banking,, CIBC Capital Markets

The Honourable Lisa Raitt joined CIBC Capital Markets in January 2020, having previously worked in both the public and private sectors. Ms. Raitt’s current focus is on senior client coverage and business development with clients in the energy, infrastructure and industrial sectors, which align closely with her deep expertise.