Provincial Budget / Bill 229, Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act (Budget Measures)
This legislation has been time allocated and referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. There will be three days of public hearings starting November 30, with the bill due back to the house for third reading by December 7, 2020. OPSBA’s Policy Development Work Team supported a brief submission that addressed education references in the provincial budget.
As of the morning of November 27, 1,180 cases of COVID-19 cases had been reported in publicly funded schools in the past 14 days. Of those cases, 908 are students, 206 are staff, and 66 are not identified. Six of the 4,828 schools in the province are currently closed, or 0.12%.
On November 26, the Premier and the Minister of Education announced a number of COVID-19 initiatives and supports for school boards, including:
- The launch of voluntary testing for asymptomatic students in the regions of Ottawa, Toronto, Peel and York;
- Funding for the Durham, Halton, Hamilton-Wentworth and Waterloo Region district school boards in response to rising COVID-19 cases;
- Providing GSN funding stabilization for enrolment declines, for all school boards across the province;
- Instructing a mandatory training component on the first day of class in January 2020, to amplify awareness and compliance of COVID-19 safety protocols; and
- Creation of two learning portals for elementary students developed in partnership with TVO and TFO.
In addition to the news release, two backgrounders were issued with more details:
- Ontario Dedicates $13.6 Million for Durham, Halton, Hamilton and Waterloo Communities
- Targeted Testing for School Communities
The Ministry of Education also sent out supporting memos, including:
- B23, COVID-19 Funding: Additional High Priority Areas and Funding for the Education and Community Partnership Program
- B22, 2020–21 Grants for Student Needs Funding Stabilization
- B21, Temporary Amendment to the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) 50-day re-employment rule
Student Transportation Advisory Group
Earlier this year, Sam Oosterhoff, the parliamentary assistant to the education minister, announced that the province was moving ahead with a review of its school bus funding model and established a Student Transportation Advisory Group. This group includes representatives from school board associations and school bus stakeholder groups. OPSBA’s representatives are President Cathy Abraham and Executive Director Rusty Hick. The topics of discussion under the review include:
- Funding formula for student transportation
- Consortia model and operations
- Student transportation procurement
The Advisory Group has met this past year to discuss the first two topics and will reconvene in early December to discuss the cost benchmark study and procurement review being undertaken by Deloitte, as well as gather information regarding student transportation procurement.
Other News Releases and Information
- November 27, 2020 News Release – Ontario Calls on Ottawa for Certainty as COVID-19 Vaccine Preparation Continues
- November 27, 2020 News Release – Ontario Moving Regions to New Levels in COVID-19 Response Framework
- November 26, 2020 News Release – Promoting Excellence: Ontario Implements Performance Based Funding for Postsecondary Institutions
- November 25, 2020 News Release – Celebrate the Holiday Season Safely
- November 25, 2002 – Memo SB27, Sick Leave Data Analysis Project
- November 24, 2020 News Release – Auditor General Special Report: Ontario’s COVID-19 Response Faced Systemic Issues and Delays