Bias-Free or Biased Hiring? Racialized Teachers’ Perspectives on Educational Hiring Practices in Ontario


  • Zuhra Abawi Niagara University
  • Ardavan Eizadirad Wilfrid Laurier University


Racialization, bias-free hiring, teacher diversity gap, colour-blind racism


This paper argues that while Ontario has witnessed an onslaught of equity and inclusion educational policies aimed at diversifying teacher demographics via “bias-free” hiring practices, teachers across the province do not equitably reflect the identities and demographics of the student population. We the authors refer to this as the teacher diversity gap which refers to the discrepancy in the proportion of racialized teachers to racialized students (Hrabowski & Sanders, 2014; Turner, 2015). Through a literature review and responses of 10 educators interviewed, this article critiques the dominant narrative associated with the benefits of “bias free” hiring practices embedded in equity and inclusive policies (James & Turner, 2017; Ryan 2009) arguing that the teacher workforce has remained predominantly white and not adapting in terms of representation with the increasingly minoritized student population. The authors further argue that bias-free hiring is a prime example of colour-blind racism (Bonilla-Silva, 2006; Zemblyas, 2003) claiming to select candidates based on their individual merit and ability, simultaneously dismissing discussions about systemic racism and other barriers embedded within existing educational policies and practices. 

Author Biographies

Zuhra Abawi, Niagara University

Dr. Abawi earned her Doctorate in Education from OISE/University of Toronto in Social Justice Education in 2018. Her doctoral thesis focused on discourses of bias-free hiring in perpetuating whiteness in teacher recruitment practices. Dr. Abawi also holds a Master of Education, a Graduate Diploma in Urban Education, a Bachelor of Education, and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from York University. Additionally, Dr. Abawi completed a diploma in Early Childhood Education in 2012 from Sheridan College and is both an Ontario Certified Teacher and Registered Early Childhood Educator. Dr. Abawi has worked as an Elementary Teacher, an Early Childhood Educator and Instructor. 

Ardavan Eizadirad, Wilfrid Laurier University

Dr. Eizadirad holds a PhD from OISE/University of Toronto in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning. Dr. Eizadirad is a Faculty member at Ryerson University's School of Early Childhood Studies