Education Cuts in Ontario

Education and universities

  • The Ford government plans to cut 3,475 Ontario teaching jobs over the next four years to save about $292 million a year. The move comes after Ontario announced its plan to increase class sizes in elementary and high schools. Following the cutback pledge in early April, thousands of students and teachers walked out of class in protest of the changes.

  • Ford has cancelled three summer curriculum-writing sessions for educators throughout the province, including one that fulfills recommendations by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and two others related to American sign language and Indigenous languages for kindergarteners. The TRC’s calls to action urged schools to make the history of Indigenous people, residential schools and treaties a mandatory part of their curriculums

  • The government has cut $25 million from the EPO fund (Education Programs—Other), which will reduce or cancel grants for programs in schools across the province. The move will put an end to a number of specialized initiatives, including after-school jobs for youth in low-income neighbourhoods, tutors in classrooms, leadership programs for racialized students, daily physical activity for elementary students and secondary students and Indigenous-focused collaborative inquiry.

  • Ford’s government has cancelled more than $300 million in funding for three university and college expansions, citing fiscal restraints. York University, partnering with Seneca College, was preparing to open a campus in Markham; Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College were setting up a campus in Milton; Ryerson University and Sheridan College had their eyes set on Brampton.

  • In his first fiscal update after taking office, Ford announced that Ontario’s plans to open the province’s first-ever French-language university would be scrapped. The new campus—scheduled to open in downtown Toronto in September 2020—was projected to cost about $80 million and focus on technology, business and health sciences. Ford said: “This has nothing to do with [anything] personal against any Franco-Ontarians. They’re great people. But we also cancelled three other uinversities, English-speaking universities.”

  • The government has also eliminated free tuition for low-income students, while reducing tuition fees by 10 per cent. In December, the auditor general warned that the cost of the tuition grant program could climb to $2 billion annually by 2020-21. Merrilee Fullerton, the province’s training, colleges and universities minister, said the family income thresholds for grants would be lowered; most grants will now be reserved for students from families with an income of less than $50,000 (under the previous program put in place by the Liberals families with up to $175,000 annual income qualified for some funding). Post-secondary institutions must absorb the estimated $450 million loss in revenue due to the 10 per cent tuition cut.

School building repairs

  • The province has cancelled a $100 million fund meant to fix dilapidated school infrastructure—this coming after the cancellation of the cap-and-trade program, part of which helped pay for energy-efficient renovations in schools. Ontario schools currently face a repair backlog of nearly $16 billion.

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  • Hani Fanous
    published this page 2019-12-04 16:31:45 -0500