Members of Provincial Parliament returned to Queen’s Park on June 16 and 17, and will also sit next on June 23. There was one new piece of legislation introduced (and passed), which was Bill 192, Protecting Small Business Act, 2020. The government moved to temporarily ban commercial tenant evictions during the pandemic. The bill would protect tenants from being locked out or having their assets seized because of COVID-19, retroactive to May 1, which is a month earlier than the government originally planned. The eviction ban would end on September 1, 2020.
Grants for Student Needs (GSN)
On June 19, the Ministry of Education released information regarding the 2020–21 GSN and OPSBA issued a brief response. OPSBA will analyze the details in the days to come and share an overview with member boards. Earlier this year, OPSBA did submit its response to the Ministry of Education’s call for feedback on the government’s Grants for Student Needs (GSN) education funding plans for 2020-21 school year.
School boards have been given an extension until mid-August to submit their balanced budget.
- Memo B08 – 2020–21 Grants for Student Needs Funding
- Memo B09 – Capital Funding for the 2020-21 School Year
- Memo B10 – 2020-21 Priorities and Partnerships Funding (PPF) and Criteria for repurposing 2019-20 PPF for COVID-19 related supports
- Appendix with PPF Funding Allocations per board
- Memo SB06 – Special Education Grant Funding Changes for 2020-21 and DSENA Tables
- Memo SB07 – Student Transportation – Grants for Student Needs, 2020-21
- Memo SB08 – 2020-21 Estimates (District School Boards)
- Technical Paper 2020-21
- Grants for Student Needs Projections for the 2020-21 School Year
School Reopening Plans
On June 19, the Minister of Education released an “Approach to Reopening Schools for the 2020-2021 School Year.” The framework requires school boards to develop reopening plans based on three scenarios, including fully online as we are now, alternate day/week attendance for students, and full-time return for all students, and to provide these plans to the Ministry of Education. It is expected that boards create local plans in conjunction with local public health units. Decisions regarding the board scenario for reopening are expected to be made in early August, and school boards will be required to communicate their plans to their school communities prior to the start of schools.
OPSBA staff will continue to provide feedback to the Ministry and to support boards throughout the upcoming summer months.
On June 15, OPSBA submitted a response to the government regarding Ontario’s Plan to Reopen Schools as part of Ontario’s Framework for Continued Learning. Our Association engaged trustees from our consultative committees, the Education Program and Policy Development Work Teams, that include trustees from across the entire province and representation from our Indigenous Trustees’ Council and student trustees from OSTA-AECO. Following this, on Wednesday, Toronto’s SickKids Hospital released their COVID-19 Recommendations for School Reopening, which will help inform the government’s framework to reopen schools this fall.
The number of new daily cases in Ontario, and across Canada, continues to fall. Much of Ontario has moved into Stage 2 of the government’s reopening framework. On June 15, the government announced that as of 12:01 a.m. on June 19, Durham, Haldimand-Norfolk, Halton, Lambton, Niagara and York Region would be permitted to move into Stage 2 as well. Today, June 22, Toronto and Peel were given word that they could move into Stage 2 on June 24. Windsor-Essex will remain in Stage 1 for the time being.
A regulatory change was announced on June 15 that will mandate the reporting of data on race, income, language and household size for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. This will help ensure the province has a more complete picture of the outbreak. Under these proposed changes, individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 infection will be asked additional questions about their race, income, languages spoken, and household size. Individuals can choose not to answer any or all of these questions. Individuals’ privacy is protected as it is for all information currently collected on other diseases.
On June 17, the government extended all emergency orders currently in force under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This extension will be in effect until June 30, 2020, to ensure the government continues to have the necessary tools to safely and gradually reopen the province, while continuing to support frontline health care workers and protect vulnerable populations from COVID-19.
The government is moving to collect race-based pandemic data, something health experts and community advocates have urged for weeks. Other jurisdictions have used that information to show the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on racialized people. The regulatory proposal “would require the collection of information on race, income level, language, and household size for individuals who test positive for a novel coronavirus, including COVID-19.”
Ontario Public Student Trustee Scholarship
OPSBA and OSTA-AECO have announced the winners of the first ever Ontario Public Student Trustee Scholarship. Two scholarships in the amount of $500 each have been awarded to Anumita Jain, a Grade 12 student at Vincent Massey SS in Windsor from the Greater Essex County District School Board, and Prasith Wijeweera, a Grade 12 student at Bell HS in the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, respectively. The intent of this scholarship is to recognize outstanding achievement and provide financial support to a graduating public board student trustee to assist with their post-secondary education plans, whether they choose to attend university or college or start an apprenticeship.
- June 18, 2020 News Release – Ontario Makes Major Investment in Mental Health and Technology to Support Students
- June 18, 2020 OPSBA Statement – New technology and mental health funding
- June 17, 2020 Statement – Ontario Marks Three Months Since Declaration of Emergency
- June 16, 2020 News Release – Ontario Releases Guide on How to Develop a Workplace Safety Plan
- June 15, 2020 News Release – Ontario Develops Additional Learning Materials for Students and Teachers