The Legislative Assembly of Ontario has two more sitting weeks before a constituency week that aligns with the Victoria Day holiday weekend (May 24 to 28).

2021-2022 Grant For Student Needs and Priorities and Partnership Fund

On May 4, the Ministry of Education released information about the 2021-22 Grants for Student Needs Funding (GSN) and the Priorities and Partnership Fund. Supporting these announcements were additional memos regarding Planning for the 2021-2022 School Year, Special Education Grant and Mental Health Funding, as well as Student Transportation Funding. OPSBA has prepared a preliminary overview of this information.

See OPSBA’s media release with an initial response to the GSN and PPF. We will continue to work with our member boards concerning the impacts of the provincial funding.

Many ministry memos were posted, including:

In late January, OPSBA sent a submission in response to the Ministry of Education’s 2021-22 Education Funding Guide, as well as to share key areas that we know are of importance to student well-being and achievement.

COVID-19 Update

The provincial COVID-19 school-related case information webpage is not currently being updated due to the province-wide closure of schools to nearly all in-person learning.

As of May 6, all people aged 50 and older in Ontario are eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, as well as all those who work in high-risk jobs such as education, child care, and the food and manufacturing sectors, as well as those with high-risk health conditions. All those aged 18 and up can now book a shot if they live in hot spot postal codes, and Peel Region is offering vaccines to all residents aged 18 and up. The government has said it expects 65% of all Ontario adults to have had their first dose by the end of May.

The Ministry of Education has not yet shared any information regarding a re-opening plan for in-person learning in schools, although Minister Lecce was asked about this by multiple reporters.

On May 3, the Ministry issued a memo that includes information about how all remaining education staff province-wide are eligible to register for vaccination appointments beginning May 6.

Recent and Current Legislation

Bill 288, Building Opportunities in the Skilled Trades Act, 2021 – This legislation was introduced by Labour Minister Monte McNaughton on May 6, 2021. Proposed amendments include establishing Skilled Trades Ontario, a new Crown agency to replace the Ontario College of Trades and to “streamline” apprenticeship training. The link to the news release is below.
Current Status: First Reading

Bill 287, Equity Education for Young Ontarians Act, 2021 – This private member’s bill was introduced by Liberal MPP Lucille Collard. The legislation would require the history of colonization and its impact on Indigenous Peoples to be included in school curricula from kindergarten to Grade 12 in an age-appropriate manner.
Current Status: First Reading

Bill 276, Supporting Recovery and Competitiveness Act, 2021 – This legislation was introduced by Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria, the Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. The bill contains changes to 28 Acts, including the Education Act which includes a proposed amendment regarding demonstration schools. This bill has been referred to the Standing Committee General Government and virtual public hearings have recently been announced for May 17 and 18, 2021. Written submissions are due May 19, 2021. OPSBA’s Policy Development Work Team has sent in a brief submission.
Current Status: Ordered referred to the Standing Committee on General Government

Bill 260, Stopping Harassment and Abuse by Local Leaders Act, 2021 – This legislation was introduced on February 8 by Liberal MPP Stephen Blais. The legislation proposes to amend the Municipal Act and the City of Toronto Act to include code of conduct breaches that involve workplace violence and harassment policies. The introduction followed a previous government announcement on March 5, indicating that the government will be reviewing Municipal Codes of Conduct. This consultation is not applicable to school boards or trustees but OPSBA will monitor for any proposed changes. On April 14, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing issued a news release, Ontario Now Accepting Public Feedback to Strengthen Municipal Codes of Conduct.
Current Status: First Reading

Bill 251, Combating Human Trafficking Act, 2021 – This legislation was introduced on February 22 by Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. In addition to this legislation, the Ministry of Education connected with education stakeholders, “to inform the development of an anti-human trafficking policy framework for the provincially-funded education sector.” OPSBA’s Policy Development Work Team met to discuss the questionnaire and how schools play a role in protecting students against trafficking and how to support survivors. An OPSBA submission was sent on March 19, 2021.
Current Status: Ordered referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy (not public hearings announced)

The Ontario Public Student Trustee Leadership Scholarship

A reminder that the nominations are open for the Ontario Public Student Trustee Leadership Scholarship. This is an award jointly provided by the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) and the Public Board Council of OSTA-AECO. The intent is to recognize outstanding achievement in a leadership role and provide financial support to a graduating public board student trustee to assist with their post-secondary education plans (University, College, or Apprenticeship). This scholarship is based on an outstanding initiative accomplished during the student trustee’s term and how the initiative positively impacted the students in their board. Two scholarships, in the amount of $500 each, will be awarded. The application deadline is May 24, 2021.

2021 Federal Census

Census information has recently been sent to households across the country. The information gathered, “is used to plan services that support employment, school, public transportation and hospitals.” OPSBA has always advocated for the use of current data taken from the long-form census and for using authentic benchmarks for funding calculations.  More information can be found at Statistics Canada.

Other News Releases and Information