Record-level support for mental health and learning recovery for Grand Erie and Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk boards  

SIMCOE– Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett announced the Ontario government will support local students by providing the Grand Erie District School Board with $313.6 million for the 2021-22 school year through the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) program, an increase of $8.8 million over last year. GSN funds for the Brant Haldimand Haldimand Catholic District School Board is projected to be $132.6 million, an increase of $4.7 million over last year  

“This announcement is good news for hard-working families and students,” Barrett said.. “Our government is committed to advancing student success, and we are delivering significant resources here in Haldimand-Norfolk.”   

“This is certainly great news for Brantford-Brant students and families,” said Brantford-Brant MPP Will Bouma.  “With the challenging times we are all working through, this funding is moving student success forward in both Haldimand-Norfolk and Brantford-Brant. Learning recovery and renewal are top priorities with our Government and I look forward to working with Medical Officers of Health, parents, educators and students for a safe return to in-class learning”.  

This week, the Ontario government announced new support for a safe and successful 2021-22 school year, including an additional $1.6 billion in resources to protect against COVID-19 and $561 million more in ongoing investments in public education for the 2021-22 school year through the GSN. Total GSN funding is projected to be $25.6 billion. This reflects the third straight year it has increased under the current government, and on a per-student basis is estimated to rise to $12,686, which is the highest amount ever.   

“Our government is investing more in public education than any government in Ontario history,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “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 order to support a safe return to classroom learning in September, Ontario is investing $1.6 billion in targeted COVID-19 resources that will be used for expenses such as enhanced cleaning protocols, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and critical supplies and equipment, and temporary staffing supports. Grand Erie will receive access to up to $ 6.247 million, and Brant Haldimand Norfolk up to $3.39 million in resources to keep students, school staff and their families safe from COVID-19.    

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. These learning recovery and renewal measures will include partnering with School Mental Health Ontario to support educators and enable timely interventions; additional teaching resources including math leads and coaches; and summer learning and special education supports, among other initiatives. These steps will position Ontario as a leading jurisdiction in unveiling a suite of learning recovery initiatives in advance of the next school year.   

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has made unprecedented investments to support student mental health, including over $80 million projected in 2021-22, which is more than four times the investments made in 2017-18. For the 2021-22 school year, Ontario will also be providing school boards with $3.2 billion to support students with special education needs through the GSN – the highest investment recorded in Ontario.   

QUICK FACTS  

  • COVID-19 resources will provide school boards with $1.6 billion for a wide range of supports, such as additional staffing to support remote learning and social distancing through smaller class sizes and support for remote learning technology, including improvements to connectivity within school buildings.  
  • School boards have been instructed to not require parental decision on in-person or remote learning before June 1, 2021, at the earliest.   
  • Resources will also be available to support health and safety measures, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies for school boards; enhanced cleaning protocols of schools and school buses; and additional staffing to support cleaning.  
  • The 2021-22 COVID-19 supports do not include any federal government investments.  
  • The Ministry of Education provides operating funding to Ontario’s 72 district school boards and 10 school authorities through the annual GSN education funding model. Funding to school boards is provided on a combination of per-student, per-school, and per-board basis.   
  • In addition to Ontario’s annual investment of approximately $1.4 billion to support the repair and renewal of schools and $550 million for new schools, additions and major renovations, school boards will have access to $656 million in combined federal-provincial funding. This funding is being provided to school boards under the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.  
  • The government also allocated $100 million to school boards during the 2020-21 school year to support immediate measures to optimize air quality and ventilation in schools, which helped ensure over 95 per cent of school boards reported improvements this school year.  
  • Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Ontario government has stepped up to provide Ontario families with $1.8 billion in direct financial support. The latest round is $980 million in direct support as part of the Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit, where payments will be doubled to $400 per child and $500 for a child with special needs to help offset additional learning costs. Applications are now being accepted until May 17, 2021.  

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES  

GSN and PPF Allocations for 2021-22   

Ontario’s Learning Recovery and Renewal for Students  

Education Funding, 2021-22  

2021 Budget – Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy  

Learn at Home,  TVO LearnIDELLO  

Learn About how the Government is Supporting People, Businesses and Families during COVID-19   

 For more information, contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or toby.barrett@pc.ola.org