TORONTO — The Ontario government is helping to connect communities and create jobs by providing an additional $10 million in funding for the Connecting Links program. The funding is part of Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 and will support road and highway projects in nine more municipalities across the province. Today's announcement brings the total annual investment for this program to $40 million.
"Our roads and bridges are vital links that connect people to jobs and make it easier for people to get where they need to go," said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. "The additional funding for the Connecting Links program will help even more municipalities keep our roadways safe while driving economic growth and job creation in their communities."
The 2020-21 Connecting Links program supports municipalities across the province to help them build, repair or replace municipal roads and bridges that connect two ends of a provincial highway through a community or to a border crossing.
Ontario has selected nine new municipalities bringing the total municipalities receiving funding from this year's Connecting Links program to 33.
Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 provided $17 billion in relief, including additional resources for the health care system and direct support for people and jobs," said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance and Chair of Ontario's Jobs and Recovery Committee. "We are following through on our commitment to build a better transportation system and invest in roads and bridges to support the economy and jobs during this difficult time.
Eligible municipalities are also encouraged to apply for funding for the 2021-22 Connecting Links Program, which will be open to applications later this year.
- Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 is a first step in its response to COVID-19 and includes $7 billion in additional resources for the health care system and direct support for people and jobs.
- It also will make available $10 billion for people and businesses through interest and penalty relief measures and other deferrals to improve their cash flow, protecting jobs and household budgets.
- The Connecting Links program is delivered through the Ministry of Transportation. The funding covers up to 90 per cent of eligible project costs, to a maximum of $3 million. Eligible costs include the design, construction, renewal, rehabilitation and replacement of connecting links.
TORONTO - Ontario courts will begin resuming in-person proceedings across the province on Monday, July 6, 2020. The gradual reopening of courtrooms will include strict health and safety protocols to protect staff and everyone required to attend a courthouse from COVID-19.
"We have worked with justice partners throughout the COVID-19 outbreak to keep people safe and maintain the administration of justice. We are now taking a careful and staged approach to expanding the operations of provincial courts and implementing strict public health measures so that in-person matters can be heard safely," said Attorney General Doug Downey.
To start, 149 courtrooms in both the Superior and Ontario Courts of Justice are reopening in 44 locations. Additional courtrooms will open by September with the remaining opening by November 1, 2020. To help maintain physical distancing, plexiglass barriers are being installed in courtrooms, interview rooms, intake offices and at public counters. Everyone who visits a courthouse will be required to wear a face covering and will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.
"As our province begins to recover from this outbreak, we are determined to ensure justice services are responsive, accessible and resilient, while we protect the health and well-being of everyone who enters a courtroom in this province," said Minister Downey. "Together with partners, we will continue to move services online and establish new, innovative ways of delivering justice remotely."
The government is consulting with justice sector partners, leaders and innovators to develop investment priorities to support new ways of delivering and increasing access to justice that span the entire sector and province, including rural and remote communities and criminal, civil and family law fields.
- The COVID-19 outbreak has limited in-person court appearances to urgent matters such as child protection proceedings and restraining orders.
- Since March 16, 2020, the Superior and Ontario Courts of Justice have facilitated over 21,000 calls to hear matters remotely, using video and teleconferencing.
- In Ontario, online filing is available for civil claims, small claims, and family law matters.
- Health measures to keep court users and staff safe
- Which Ontario and Superior Courts of Justice are scheduling in-person proceedings July 6th
- Attorney General announces $4 million to support victims and protect front-line justice staff
TORONTO — The Ontario Government is celebrating International Small Business Week with the launch of the "Shop Local! Shop Safe! Shop with Confidence!" campaign, encouraging Ontarians to support their local small businesses and to shop safely while doing so.
"The countless stories of success from our diverse small business community is living proof that Ontario is a place to grow and achieve big dreams," said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business. "All of our small businesses supported the fight against COVID-19, many by closing their doors for several months—now it's our turn to help support their recovery. When Ontarians Shop Local, Shop Safe and Shop with Confidence, we're doing our part to ensure the future vitality of our main streets, our communities and our province."
The province's campaign asks for mayors, local leaders and groups to support our small businesses by committing on social media to "Shop Local, Shop Safe, Shop with Confidence," while highlighting the best practices put in place by businesses to help keep shoppers safe while ensuring that the reopening of Ontario continues to be a success. For example, the principles of the People Outside Safely Together (POST) Promise encourage small businesses to strictly follow health guidelines and reopen with appropriate measures in place, so consumers can shop safely and with confidence, including:
- Washing and sanitizing hands
- Maintaining physical distancing
- Staying home if unwell
- Practicing respiratory etiquette
- Cleaning and disinfecting regularly
"The Retail Council of Canada is strengthened by the contributions of our diverse membership, and we're delighted join the Government of Ontario in supporting our main street retail businesses and indeed all retailers across the province," said Diane J. Brisebois, President of the Retail Council of Canada. "'Shop Local, Shop Safe, Shop with Confidence' helps retailers, the province's largest private-sector employers, promote safety for consumers and workplaces, while continuing to help to build strong and vibrant communities all across Ontario."
The province, in partnership with various health and safety organizations, has also released sector-specific guidelines in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. These documents help workplaces better understand their responsibilities and includes best practices they can use to help them comply with their legal obligation to protect the health and safety of workers.
- Ontario is also providing significant support to small businesses, including an investment of $150 million in rural broadband which will help businesses access a greater pool of customers as well as significantly expanding the Digital Main Street platform to help small businesses create and enhance their online presence, helping them to adapt and meet the challenges of today. The province has also implemented a ban on commercial evictions to help small businesses that have been significantly impacted by restrictions due to COVID-19.
- The Board of Directors of the POST Promise Corporation is comprised of senior level business leaders and public health experts from organizations such as: The Business Council of Canada, Retail Council of Canada, Canadian Global Cities Council, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada, Restaurants Canada, McCarthy Tetrault LLP, The University of Toronto, Salt XC, and Medcan.
- The Ontario Government reduced the small business Corporate Income Tax rate by 8.7 percent starting January 1, 2020. This will deliver up to $1,500 in annual savings to more than 275,000 businesses.
- Ontario’s Small Business Success Strategy, launched prior to COVID-19, identified the need for small businesses across the province to build or enhance their online presence to remain competitive and expand their markets. COVID-19 has further reinforced the need for Ontario small businesses to embrace digital tools, including having online storefronts and expanding them. The Strategy also seeks to promote entrepreneurship in all of Ontario’s diverse communities.
- To further support small businesses with physical storefronts impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, Ontario has implemented a Temporary Ban on Commercial Evictions
- To learn more and make The Post Promise, go to: postpromise.com
- For more information on the Digital Main Street, go to: digitalmainstreet.ca/ontario
- Stakeholder Response to Digital Main Street
- Visit Ontario.ca/reopen for more information on economic reopening
- Learn more about A Framework for Reopening our Province: Stage 1
- Find more Resources to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace
- Tell us about the economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak
- See how Ontario is Improving Broadband and Cell Service for Rural Communities
TORONTO - The Ontario government is helping large industrial and commercial companies return to full levels of operation without the fear of electricity costs spiking by providing more stable electricity pricing for two years. Effective immediately, companies that participate in the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) will not be required to reduce their electricity usage during peak hours, as their proportion of Global Adjustment (GA) charges for these companies will be frozen.
"Ontario's industrial and commercial electricity consumers continue to experience unprecedented economic challenges during COVID-19," said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. "Today's announcement will allow large industrial employers to focus on getting their operations up and running and employees back to work, instead of adjusting operations in response to peak electricity demand hours."
Due to COVID-19, electricity consumption in Ontario has been below average and the province is forecast to have a reliable supply of electricity to accommodate increased usage. Peak hours generally occur during the summer when the weather is hot and electricity demand from cooling systems is high.
"Today's action will reduce the burden of anticipating and responding to peak hours for more than 1,300 ICI participants with 2,000 primarily industrial facilities in Ontario," said Bill Walker, Associate Minister of Energy. "Now these large employers can focus on getting their operations back up and running at full tilt."
The government previously announced it was providing temporary relief for industrial and commercial electricity consumers that do not participate in the Regulated Price Plan (RPP) by deferring a portion of GA charges for April, May and June 2020.
- ICI provides an incentive for eligible electricity consumers to reduce their consumption during peak hours to reduce their costs.
- New ICI participants for the 2021-22 program year will not be affected; they will be assessed on their electricity consumption during peak hours in 2020-21.
- Visit Ontario's website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.
- Visit the Independent Electricity System Operator's (IESO) website to learn more about Class A ICI participant eligibility.
- Learn about programs to help businesses manage their energy costs.
- Ontario Provides Consumers with Greater Stability and Predictability with their Electricity Bills
TORONTO — The Ontario government is investing more than $13 million to support community- driven and youth-led projects to improve the well-being of children, youth, and families facing economic and social barriers. The funding will flow through the 2020 Youth Opportunities Fund, a province-wide initiative that creates opportunities for young people and empowers and supports parents, guardians and caregivers.
Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women's Issues.
"It is our responsibility as government to support our young people and help them find a path to lifelong success," said Premier Ford. "This funding will enable youth across the province to develop the skills they need to be better engaged in school, empower girls and young women to lead, address racism and discrimination, and give young people access to the programs that will help them become the next generation of leaders and community builders."
The 2020 Youth Opportunities Fund will provide financial support to 43 community organizations that will benefit youth aged 12 to 25, and their families. Projects receiving funding this year include:
- Black Moms Connection ― focusing on economic empowerment for Black mothers across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
- Immigrants francophones d'Afrique pour l'intégration et le développement (IFAPID)― to support newcomers from Francophone African nations to navigate financial systems in Canada.
- Earthling Art Collective ― to provide development and mentorship opportunities for youth leaving care and the justice system in Thunder Bay.
- Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment & Training ― to help Indigenous youth in the GTA access employment and training opportunities in the skilled trades.
"The Youth Opportunities Fund is a way for our government to form partnerships with grassroots projects and community leaders who are creating change. Together, we can build an Ontario that gives everybody an equal chance to succeed," said Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services.
"By believing in our youth and supporting them today, we can help develop the knowledge and skills they need to reach their full potential," said Minister Dunlop. "I truly believe this initiative will go a long way towards developing our next generation of leaders. The projects selected for this year's Youth Opportunities Fund grants are wonderful examples of how community-led initiatives can make a positive difference in young people's lives."
The Youth Opportunities Fund provides funding through the following three granting streams:
- Youth Innovations ― Provides youth facing multiple barriers with the resources they need to design and deliver new and inspiring solutions to issues that matter to them and their communities.
- Family Innovations ― Invests in local, community-driven groups delivering culturally relevant projects that empower and support parents, guardians and caregivers who face barriers and challenges to child and family wellbeing.
- System Innovations ― Supports organizations that are strengthening the quality and responsiveness of systems so that they may work better for young people facing multiple barriers.
"By increasing financial literacy for Black mothers and their families, it can change where they live, how they raise their kids, where they work and more. The impact will have a positive ripple effect for generations to come," said Tanya Hayles, Founder, Black Moms Connection.
"Earthling Art Collective is pleased to receive a Youth Opportunities grant so we can continue to engage youth in a meaningful capacity through one-on-one mentorship and workshop facilitation. We look forward to continuing our mission of establishing a web of young creatives supported by our programming and extensive network of partners and collaborators," said Benjamin Murray, Director, Earthling Art Collective.
- Youth Opportunities Fund grants are administered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
- Applications for the 2021 Youth Opportunities Fund grants will open in fall 2020.
TORONTO ― In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government has extended the provincial Declaration of Emergency under s.7.0.7 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to July 15, 2020. This extension, approved by the Ontario Legislature earlier today, provides Ontario with the additional time, flexibility, and the necessary tools to safely and gradually allow more places to reopen, while continuing to support frontline health care providers in the fight against COVID-19.
"As we gradually and safely reopen our economy, our frontline care providers can continue to rely on these emergency orders to better protect our seniors and most vulnerable citizens and provide the flexibility to put resources where they're needed most," said Premier Doug Ford. "We are hopeful that another extension of the Declaration of Emergency will not be needed as we see improvements in the public health trends and as people and businesses continue to act responsibly and adapt to the new environment."
The provincial Declaration of Emergency enables the government to make, and as needed amend, emergency orders that protect the health and safety of all Ontarians. Emergency orders in force under the Declaration of Emergency include those allowing frontline care providers to redeploy staff to areas most in need, limiting long-term care and retirement home employees to working at one home, and enabling public health units to redeploy or hire staff to support the province's enhanced case management and contact tracing strategy. These measures continue to be needed to protect seniors and other vulnerable populations from the threat of COVID-19. The extension of the Declaration of Emergency will allow the province to make or amend emergency orders as needed as it continues to ease restrictions in support of its phased reopening.
In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the government will continue to monitor public health trends related to COVID-19 and assess on an ongoing basis whether the provincial Declaration of Emergency needs to be extended further. The government will also continue to review emergency orders currently in place to determine when and if it is safe to amend or lift them as more places in the province are allowed to reopen in a safe and measured way.
As of June 24, 33 public health unit regions have entered Stage 2 of the Framework for Reopening our Province, allowing more businesses and services to open and getting more people back to work. The Windsor-Essex County public health unit region remains in Stage 1 and the situation in the region will continue to be assessed on an ongoing basis.
- See how your organization can help fight COVID-19.
- Information and advice to help your business navigate the economy during COVID-19.
- Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.
TORONTO — The Ontario government released the province's new elementary math curriculum to better prepare students for work in a rapidly changing world, strengthen math competence and improve grades. The curriculum was developed over two years in consultation with parents, math educators, academics and math education experts, and is designed to reverse a decade of declining math scores. It will be available to students across the province beginning in September 2020.
Details were released today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education.
"I made a promise to parents that we would fix the broken education system we inherited, get back to basics, and teach our children the math fundamentals they need for lifelong success," said Premier Ford. "Today, our government is delivering on that promise with the first-ever math curriculum in Canada for Grades 1-8 that includes the teaching of coding and financial literacy, both critical skills that will help our students prepare for and succeed in the modern world and in the modern workforce."
The new math curriculum for Grades 1-8 will:
- Build understanding of the value and use of money through mandatory financial literacy concepts;
- For the first time, teach coding or computer programming skills starting in Grade 1 to improve problem solving and fluency with technology, to prepare students for jobs of the future;
- Use relevant, current, and practical examples so students can connect math to everyday life;
- Put a focus on fundamental math concepts and skills, such as learning and recalling number facts.
"For over a decade, too many students were lacking everyday math, financial literacy, and numeracy skills," said Minister Lecce. "The new curriculum will help students solve everyday math problems, enshrine financial literacy in the early grades, and better prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow by ensuring every student learns how to code."
The Ministry of Education is also changing how it makes curriculum available to better reflect how Ontarians consume information. The new math curriculum will be the first uploaded to the new Curriculum and Resources website, a digital space where anyone can access curriculum and learning resources. This platform will help parents, students, and teachers see connections between learning in different grades and subjects.
"Our research team provided an extensive background research report giving the Ministry of Education the most up-to-date research and analysis of other curricula," said Dr. Christine Suurtamm, Vice Dean Research, and Professor of Mathematics Education, Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa. "Ontario's new mathematics curriculum builds on what we know about student learning and how students develop an understanding of mathematics. It supports all students to be math learners with opportunities to learn foundational mathematics and engage in current topics. The goal is to support how students use math in the world today, and how they will use math to make informed decisions in the world ahead of them."
- The last update to Ontario’s elementary math curriculum was in 2005.
- The new elementary math curriculum is part of the government’s four-year math strategy to ensure that students can build the confidence and skills they need to excel in math.
- The elementary report card will be updated to align with the new curriculum and provide an overall mark in math, along with comments on the different strands of the curriculum to give parents a better overall assessment of how their child is doing.
- Grade 3 and 6 students will not participate in Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) assessments during the 2020-21 school year, as the ministry works to align the assessments with the new curriculum. Students in Grade 9 and Grade 10 will continue to take the mathematics assessment and Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT), respectively.
- The Ontario Government is committed to supporting educators in effectively implementing the new elementary math curriculum. This includes providing classroom-ready resources for each grade, as well as in-depth virtual training for teachers, principals and board staff.
- Educators will also continue to benefit from investments in professional development and math supports, including $10 million for board-based math learning leads, $15 million for school-based math learning facilitators, and $15 million to support release time for educators to become expertly familiar with the curriculum.
The Ontario government is strongly urging everyone to ensure their pet is not left unattended in a vehicle during the hot summer weather. Temperatures inside a vehicle can quickly become much hotter than the temperature outside even if the windows are opened slightly. This can put pets at risk of serious illness and possibly death. If your pet can't be with you at your destination, leave them at home where they will be safe, cool and comfortable.
"It is critically important to ensure all pets are protected from the potential fatal effects of the hot summer sun," said Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General. "Leaving pets to suffer in a sweltering vehicle will not be tolerated and we have adopted tough new laws to deter this type of reckless behaviour in the province."
Ontario is the first jurisdiction in Canada to implement a full provincial government-based animal welfare enforcement system. The Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) Act came into effect January 1, 2020 and allows police, First Nations constables and provincial animal welfare inspectors to enter motor vehicles to help pets in distress. The legislation also has the strongest penalties in the country for people who violate animal welfare laws, including causing distress to animals.
If you see an animal in a hot car and are concerned the animal's life is in immediate danger, dial 911. Members of the public should not attempt to enter a vehicle in these situations.
- Unlike humans, dogs have a very limited ability to sweat. Even a short period in a hot environment can cause suffering and distress, which could result in brain damage or death.
- Excessive panting, drooling, listlessness, collapsing or seizures are all examples of visible signs of heat stress in animals. If you witness these signs in your pet, move the animal to a cool area and seek veterinary attention immediately.
- Cruelty to any animal is not tolerated in Ontario. If you think an animal is in distress or being abused, call 1-833-9-ANIMAL (264625).
TORONTO — Today, the Ontario government released its safety plan for the resumption of class for the 2020-21 school year, outlining scenarios for how students, teachers and staff can safely return to classrooms in September. The plan also provides choice to parents, enhanced online learning, and additional funding. While the decision to return to the normal school day routine will continue to be based on medical advice, boards and schools are being asked to plan for alternative scenarios that may need to be implemented in September depending on the province's COVID-19 situation.
"Nothing is more important than protecting our kids in this province. Parents expect us to take every precaution to keep their children safe when they go back to school in September - and that's exactly what we're delivering today," said Premier Ford. "This plan takes the best medical advice available from our public heath experts to ensure every school board and every school is ready to ensure students continue learning in the safest way possible."
Ontario's plan to safely reopen schools will provide options for parents - to send their children in-class or to enter online learning - with health, safety and well-being at its core. Boards will be asked to plan for the following three scenarios to be implemented in September, depending on the public health situation at the time:
- Normal school day routine with enhanced public health protocols - Students going to school every day, in classes that reflect standard class size regulations.
- Modified school day routine - Based on public health advice, an adapted delivery model has been designed to allow for physical distancing and cohorts of students. Under this model, school boards are asked to maintain a limit of 15 students in a typical classroom at one time and adopt timetabling that would allow for students to remain in contact only with their classmates and a single teacher for as much of the school day as possible. This model would require alternate day or alternate week delivery to a segment of the class at one time.
- At home learning - Should the school closure be extended, or some parents choose not to send their child back to school, school boards need to be prepared to offer remote education. Remote education should be delivered online to the greatest extent possible, including the establishment of minimum expectations for students to have direct contact with their teacher at the same time on a regular basis, also known as synchronous learning. Synchronous learning can be used as part of whole class instruction, in smaller groups of students, and/or in a one-on-one context.
The government is instructing school boards to be prepared with a plan, should it be required, that includes an adapted delivery model, which could include alternate day or alternate week attendance, staggered bell times and recess, and different transportation arrangements, among a variety of other considerations to ensure the safety of students and staff.
The government's safety plan for schools was created following extensive consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, health experts on the COVID-19 Command Table, medical experts at The Hospital for Sick Children, education sector partners, frontline workers, parents and students. While this plan reflects the best medical and scientific advice and recommendations available, parents who do not feel comfortable having their children physically return to school will have a choice to pursue online remote learning.
"We are taking every precaution, investing more, and listening to the best medical advice in the country to keep students, staff, and families safe," said Minister Lecce. "I want to assure parents safety is our guiding principle and the right supports are being put in place to ensure our students are set up for success. I am grateful to Ontario students, education staff, and communities for stepping up during this difficult period."
"Having careful plans in place to reopen schools in September is of the utmost importance for the mental and developmental health of children and youth, as well as their academic success," says Dr. Ronald Cohn, President and CEO of SickKids. "The risk posed by COVID-19 cannot be completely eliminated, however, there are significant steps that can be taken to mitigate risk and protect the health and well-being of students, staff and their families."
Key elements of the safety plan include:
- guidance for developing health and safety protocols, including the use of personal protective equipment;
- expectations of an in-class school environment;
- professional development training for teachers on the new protocols and directions;
- supports for students with special education needs;
- enhanced mental health and well-being supports;
- proposals on how educators and students can move fluidly between in-class and remote learning;
- guidelines to help schools and boards in their communications with students and parents;
- guidelines for student transportation systems;
- expectations for the delivery of curriculum and assessment across subjects and grades;
- guidance for working with First Nations students, parents and communities;
- regional options for reopening based on the advice of local public health authorities; and
- a checklist to help boards in their reopening planning.
Moreover, the government announced $4 million in net new funding for cleaning, cleaning protocols, and financial support to hire additional custodial staff in September to ensure schools are safe.
School boards have been asked to prepare their own safety plans for the upcoming school year and submit them to the ministry by August 4, 2020. The ministry will be providing all boards with an opportunity to share their draft plans and seek feedback from a formalized table of medical experts that the ministry will be convening.
School boards will also be required to communicate with parents and students prior to the start of the 2020-21 school year, outlining the safety plan, guidance on health and safety measures and protocols, and any other changes that will be implemented when schools open in September.
- Ontario is investing an additional $736 million in public education for the 2020-21 school year, for a total of $25.5 billion. This funding, provided through the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) program, represents the largest investment in public education in Ontario’s history.
- The Ministry of Education is working in partnership with school boards to deliver high-speed internet to all schools in Ontario, with all high schools having access to broadband by September 2020, and all elementary schools having access by September 2021. As of March 31, 2020, broadband modernization has been completed at 1,983 schools, including 403 northern schools. Installation is currently in progress at 2,954 schools, including 99 northern schools.
- School boards, in collaboration with their local public health units, are encouraged to refer to Transport Canada’s recently issued Federal Guidance for School Bus Operations as part of their student transportation planning.
- On March 20, 2020, the Ministry of Education unveiled the Learn at Home / Apprendre à la maison portal, which provides online resources for families and students while schools remain closed.
- Through the Ontario Together web site, the province identified over 30 proposals from businesses, organizations and everyday Ontarians to provide solutions to remote learning while schools are closed during the COVID-19 global pandemic.
- Approach to Reopening Schools for the 2020-21 School Year
- Minister Lecce’s Letter to Parents
- Up to Speed: Ontario’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan
- Learn at Home
- Federal Guidance for School Bus Operations
- Summer Learning - Government Supports Online Learning During COVID-19 Outbreak
- Child Care announcement - Ontario Helping Parents Return to Work
- Ontario Together
- Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.
TORONTO - Today, the Ontario government announced that it is investing $736 million more in public education for the 2020-21 school year, increasing the total to more than $25.5 billion. This funding, through the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) program, represents the largest investment in public education in Ontario's history. As a result, Ontario's average per-pupil funding amount has reached $12,525, which is an increase of $250 over the previous year.
"We are investing more in our students to ensure they are safe, and well prepared to hit the books beginning in September," said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. "As we review all scenarios related to the COVID-19 outbreak, our government is supporting each and every school board in the province to ensure our students and educators have the resources available for a successful year."
All 72 district school boards in the province are projected to have increases to their GSN allocations for the upcoming school year, which includes record-high investments in special education, mental health and well-being, among many other key areas.
Under the GSN, the new $213 million student-centric Supports for Students Fund (SSF) will support:
- special education,
- mental health and well-being,
- language instruction,
- Indigenous education, and
- STEM programming.
"We are investing in new supports for marginalized and racialized students to give hope and confidence to their families that we will work to unlock their full potential and remove the barriers to their success," said Minister Lecce.
The Supports for Students Fund can also be used for additional critical staffing needs during the return to school in September, including hiring custodians and education assistants for students who need support.
In addition to the GSN, Ontario is providing funding for the Priorities and Partnerships Fund (PPF), which enables school boards and third-parties to undertake important initiatives and provide critical resources for curricular, extra-curricular, and wrap-around supports. In the upcoming school year, the PPF is projected to be over $300 million, funding approximately 150 initiatives to support students.
"LDAO is delighted to continue our partnership with the Ministry of Education to put resources into the hands of Ontario Educators. For many years we have said, Learning Disabilities are complicated, but helping isn't. Educators in every board will continue to get access to free evidence-based resources thanks to this continued funding. Ultimately, this partnership is enhancing the support for and success of students with LDs across the province." - Lawrence Barns, President and CEO, Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario
"We are pleased to partner with the Ontario government in their commitment to STEM education. This investment will have a significant impact on the lives of students across the province and provide the necessary resources to ensure every student has access to valuable STEM programs like Shad." - Tim Jackson, CEO, Shad Canada
"We very much appreciate the ongoing support of the Ontario Ministry of Education. This will allow us to bring free literacy and numeracy programs to students throughout the province - now more crucial than ever before - and to provide critical support to children and youth across the north and in Indigenous communities. This will also fund literacy training and information to hundreds of parents and community workers throughout Ontario." - Stephen Faul, President and CEO, Frontier College
"Le Centre franco is happy to be a privileged partner for the Ministry of Education and the French School Boards of Ontario. Our team immediately mobilized itself to answer the call from the start of the emergency order to offer students and families resources and services of the utmost quality financed by the Ministry of Education of Ontario." - Claude Deschamps, Chief Executive Officer, Director General, Le Centre franco-ontarien de ressources pédagogiques
"Each year, TVO Mathify helps thousands of Ontario grade 6-10 students understand the math concepts that are so important to achieving success in today's world. This investment allows TVO to continue meeting the growing demand for Mathify's free online tutoring service, and represents a tangible commitment from the government to improving math scores across the province." - Jennifer Hinshelwood, Acting Chief Operating Officer, TVO
- The Government is providing funding to support the mental health and well-being of students upon the return to school in Fall 2020, as a result of emerging needs related to the COVID-19 school closures.
- Ontario is also continuing to invest $1.4 billion in school facility repair and renewal to support healthy and safe learning environments, which directly aligns with a recommendation from the Auditor General of Ontario.
- The Ministry of Education provides operating funding to Ontario’s 72 district school boards through the annual GSN education funding model. Funding to school boards is provided on a combination of per student, per school, and per board basis.
- Ontario launched Learn at Home and Apprendre à la maison, a new online portal that provides resources for families so students can continue their education while schools are closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
- Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.