Additional Funding for Taking Further Action to Protect & Safely Reopen Schools

Published on February 02, 2021

At the heart of our comprehensive plan to keep kids learning is a firm commitment to protecting our students, families, staff and the most vulnerable.

We strongly agree with parents and medical experts that kids need to be learning in class – alongside their friends and teachers – as it is crucial for their mental well-being and development. That is why we will continue to follow expert medical advice and work to get all schools open, for all children, in all regions of our province.

To protect Ontario students and staff, and with the aim of reopening all schools, we are strengthening our plan with tougher measures and new investments.

To keep schools safe, we are:

  • improving the quality of masks (enhanced 3-ply standard following the Public Health Agency of Canada guidance) and supply by providing 3.5 million more masks to school boards, and mandated masks for students  from grade one and up (and outside when distancing is not possible),
  • providing clear guidance to end all before and after school congregation for both students and staff (including limiting lunch room socializing),
  • imposing stricter screening of students and staff before entering schools,
  • expanding (voluntary) asymptomatic targeted testing available to all Public Health Units, for up to 50,000 tests per week of lab-based PCR and rapid antigen tests, to be deployed at their discretion.
  • responding to high rates of staff absenteeism and to ensure schools remain operational, our Ministry and the Ontario College of Teachers have temporarily permitted teacher candidates to work in schools – underscoring the lack of available certified teachers in the province (and contrary to union and opposition claims).

The government is allocating an additional $381 million that prioritizes safe and quality learning in schools, including the hiring of additional staff, improving air quality and ventilation in schools, supporting online learning, and promoting student mental health. 

With this additional funding, schools are being provided with more than $1.6 billion in critical supports to protect against the spread of COVID-19, all of which has ensured Ontario leads the way with the most comprehensive plan.

We will continue to follow expert medical advice and work to get all schools open, for all children, in all regions of our province.

Background – to date, Ontario has supported:

  • the hiring of 3300 teachers (with an additional 800 projected to be hired),
  • the hiring of 1400 custodians (with an additional 400 projected to be hired),
  • the hiring of over 500 principals, vice-principals and admin staff to support new virtual schools
  • the hiring of over 650 educational assistants, mental health workers and professionals to provide special education and mental health supports
  • over 23,000 HEPA filters and 20,000 portable HEPA units, and nearly 3,000 other ventilation devices,

 Additional Funding Allocations to York Region and York Catholic DSB:

DSB Name

 Allocation for Improving Air Quality And Ventilation

 Allocation for Health and Safety

 Allocation for Student Transportation

Allocation for Technological Devices

York Region DSB

$ 2,588,000

$ 4,025,878

$ 207,304

$4,948,240

York Catholic DSB

$ 1,027,000

$ 1,661,788

$ 90,037

$1,973,179

For News Release and Backgrounder, click here

For more information on Ontario Provides Additional Funding to Keep Schools Safe, click here

For more information on Ontario Expands Testing to Keep Schools and Child Care Settings Safe, click here