The Ontario government announced Friday that it is investing $736 million more in public education for the 2020-21 school year, increasing the total to more than $25.5 billion.
This funding, through the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) program, represents the largest investment in public education in Ontario's history, the province said. As a result, Ontario's average per-pupil funding amount has reached $12,525, which is an increase of $250 over the previous year.
"We are investing more in our students to ensure they are safe, and well prepared to hit the books beginning in September," said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education.
"As we review all scenarios related to the COVID-19 outbreak, our government is supporting each and every school board in the province to ensure our students and educators have the resources available for a successful year."
All 72 district school boards in the province are projected to have increases to their GSN allocations for the upcoming school year, which includes record-high investments in special education, mental health and well-being, among many other key areas.
Under the GSN, the new $213 million student-centric Supports for Students Fund (SSF) will support:
- Special education
- Mental health and well-being
- Language instruction
- Indigenous education
- STEM programming
"We are investing in new supports for marginalized and racialized students to give hope and confidence to their families that we will work to unlock their full potential and remove the barriers to their success," said Lecce.
The Supports for Students Fund can also be used for additional critical staffing needs during the return to school in September, including hiring custodians and education assistants for students who need support.
In addition to the GSN, Ontario is providing funding for the Priorities and Partnerships Fund (PPF), which enables school boards and third-parties to undertake important initiatives and provide critical resources for curricular, extra-curricular, and wrap-around supports.
In the upcoming school year, the PPF is projected to be over $300 million, funding approximately 150 initiatives to support students.
The Government is providing funding to support the mental health and well-being of students upon the return to school in Fall 2020, as a result of emerging needs related to the COVID-19 school closures.
Ontario is also continuing to invest $1.4 billion in school facility repair and renewal to support healthy and safe learning environments, which directly aligns with a recommendation from the Auditor General of Ontario.
The Ministry of Education provides operating funding to Ontario’s 72 district school boards 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.
Ontario launched Learn at Home and Apprendre à la maison, a new online portal that provides resources for families so students can continue their education while schools are closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.