In 1985 against the backdrop of Bill 30, the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops decided the need to bring together the partners in Catholic education under the umbrella of the Institute for Catholic Education (ICE) in the offices on St. Mary Street, in Toronto, Ontario. The vision for the Institute was articulated in the 1989 Pastoral Letter of the bishops, This Moment of Promise.
The OCCB selected Msgr. Dennis Murphy as the first Executive Director in 1985. A detailed timeline of these foundation years can be found below. Originally, the Board of Directors consisted of the President and Executive Director of each of the following partners: the OCCB, OECTA, OSSTA, OCSOA, and CEFO. Later, in the 1990s, OCSBOA, CPCO and OAPCE joined the Board of Directors.
Between 1985-1993 the work of the Institute centred on developing Secondary Religious Education Curriculum, outlines for Catholic Leadership courses and designing a search organization assisting Catholic School Boards in hiring Directors of Education. Plans for the first province-wide Symposium for Catholic Education also unfolded during these years.
From 1993-2013, Sister Joan Cronin, gsic, served as Executive Director at ICE. The second ‘promise’ pastoral letter, Fulfilling the Promise, shaped the vision for Catholic education at this time. These were years of great expansion in publishing, Catholic Curriculum documents, course profiles for all Secondary School subjects, Catholic Graduate Expectations, World Religions: A Canadian Catholic Perspective, were all written during these years. Research Projects as well as Leadership course outlines were designed for implementation among Catholic School Board personnel at all levels. The tradition of province-wide symposiums to reflect on major questions and issues in Catholic Education continued.
Michael Pautler served as the third Executive Director from 2013-2020. During these years, ICE revised the Elementary and Secondary Religious Education curriculum and coordinated the development of updated classroom resources for Family Life and Secondary Religious Education. Classroom and Board level resources were developed to encourage consistency of practice and approach as Catholic schools addressed equity, diversity and inclusive education initiatives and Indigenous Education curriculum expectations.
In 2016, ICE relocated to the current office on Hunt Street in Hamilton, Ontario. The Catholic Graduate Expectations were refreshed, and a series of professional monographs were introduced to encourage reflective practice for Catholic educators. The largest province-wide symposium to date led to the development of a new pastoral letter from the ACBO, Renewing the Promise, which remains the guiding force for Catholic educators and the basis for their reflection on the mission and vision of Catholic education in the 21st century.
Sources: R. T. Dixon: Be A Teacher, 1994,
Catholic Education and Politics in Ontario, 2003.