Ontario Unveils $2 Billion Plan to Keep Schools Safe and Support Learning Recovery and RenewalPublished on May 07, 2021
Even as we work with the Chief Medical Officer of Health to determine when we can ensure a safe return to classroom learning, we continue to plan ahead for September. Our number one priority remains keeping schools safe and supporting learning recovery after a year of global disruption.
That is why this government is investing more in public education than any government in Ontario history for the third straight year. Under this plan, we are making over $2B in additional resources available, including:
- $1.6 billion in COVID-19 resources,
- $85.5 million plan to support learning recovery, and
- $561 million increase in the Grants for Student Needs (GSN), rising to $25.6 billion.
This includes historic investments in mental health, special education and reading and math recovery, to respond to this generational challenge.
These investments can help hire more than 1,000 new mental health workers and allow children to have direct access to teacher-led math tutoring.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, this government has made unprecedented investments to support student mental health. For the 2021-2022 school year, over $80 million is projected, which is more than four times the investments made in 2017-18 under the Wynne-Del Duca Liberals.
Yet again, special education funding is increasing, rising to over $3.2 billion – the highest investment recorded in Ontario.
Hope is on the horizon with increasing access to vaccines, including for all education and child care workers who are currently eligible. While the intent is to ensure students have as normal a school environment as possible — with the provision of extra curriculars and physical education — we know it’s critical to be prepared for all scenarios to respond to whatever path this pandemic takes.
That is why Ontario's plan provides $1.6B in entirely provincial funding for the hiring of staff, PPE, additional resources for remote learning technology, and support for student mental health.
That includes ensuring all families retain the option this coming September for both in-class and remote learning — a choice that would be denied by the Wynne-Del Duca Liberals and other interests.
In July, the Chief Medical Officer of Health will provide updated and final guidance on school reopening based on the health landscape, however be assured, Ontario has a plan and is ready.
Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has said that schools have been safe, and with this record investment and continued implementation of the best medical advice, we will keep schools safe in the next school year as we have this school year.