The Ontario government is providing more than $2 billion in new supports to advance and protect public education for the 2021-22 school year.
The support includes more than $1.6 billion in resources to respond to COVID-19 and an $85.5 million commitment to support learning recovery and renewal in response to the ongoing pandemic.
Ontario education minister Stephen Lecce made the announcement during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
The funding also includes a $561 million increase to this year’s Grants for Student Needs, bringing the 2021-22 total GSN investment to $25.6 billion.
“Our government is investing more in public education than any government in Ontario history,” said Lecce.
“As we continue to work with the Chief Medical Officer of Health to evaluate the safe resumption of in-class learning, our number-one priority remains safety in the classroom. To deliver on that priority, our government is making more than $1.6 billion available to protect school safety while investing in the long-term success of students with more support for reading, math, mental health, and special education needs.”
In advance of the new school year, the Ontario government is providing a total of more than $1.6 billion in resources to protect schools against COVID-19.
- $59 million in continued special education, mental heath, well-being and equity supports, the highest ever investment (including an annual $10 million investment as part of the GSN);
- $35 million in additional technology funding (including an annual $15 million to support technology such as devices for students in the GSN and $20 million in connectivity supports for remote learning technology);
- $20 million in new funding to support learning recovery and renewal;
- $29 million for increased costs related to school operations;
- $66 million for enhanced cleaning protocols and other health and safety measures in student transportation;
- $86 million for school-focused nurses in public health units and testing;
- $384 million in temporary COVID-19 staffing supports;
- Up to $450 million in personal protective equipment (PPE) and critical supplies and equipment, e.g. cleaning supplies provided through the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services and the pandemic stockpile; and
- Up to $508 million for school boards to access up to 2 per cent of reserves to support COVID-related expenses.
The Ontario government is supporting learning recovery and renewal by investing an additional $85.5 million to help students across the province address the effects of learning disruptions as a result of COVID-19.
Investments will support reading and math for young learners, student re-engagement, and mental health and well-being supports.
With an increase in funding of $561 million, $25.6 billion is projected to be provided for the success and well-being of Ontario students through the GSN.