Ontario Unveils Record Education Investment to Help Students Recover from COVID-19 Disruptions
Beamsville – Following two years of global learning disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario government is announcing record funding of $26.6 billion for the 2022-23 school year. The funding will support learning recovery and fund mental health supports for students to allow a return to a more normal school year next year.
As part of the announcement, Hon. Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, unveiled Ontario’s Learning Recovery Action Plan – a five-point plan to strengthen learning recovery in reading and math, anchored by the largest provincial investment in tutoring supports, summer learning and mental health.
“COVID-19 has impacted every single person living in Ontario, including students,” said Sam Oosterhoff, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education and MPP for Niagara West.
“These investments will ensure students in Niagara have access to the supports they need to recover from the pandemic disruptions so that they can reach their full potential. Recognizing the importance of mental health, our government is also providing additional resources to ensure students feel safe and supported at school.”
For students in Niagara, Grants for Student Needs funding will total $749,659,244, allocated to to the following local school boards:
- $496,314,275 in funding for the District School Board of Niagara;
- $253,344,969 in funding for the Niagara Catholic District School Board.
In addition to the two local boards, the following funding is being allocated to the French-language school boards which are operating schools in Niagara:
- $269,783,669 in funding for Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir;
- $233,539,860 in funding for Conseil scolaire Viamonde.
“No government in Ontario history has invested more in public education, tutoring supports, mental health, and special education than ours led by Premier Ford,” said Minister Lecce.
“We are bridging learning gaps that have emerged over the past years through a massive increase in small group tutoring programs and through the expansion of mental health supports to benefit children across all schools in Ontario.”
The Ontario Government’s $600 million Learning Recovery Action Plan will help students recover from the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic and will be available to students this year and into next school year. $175 million is being invested to expand access to free publicly funded tutoring in small groups after school, during school, on weekends and over the summer. This province-wide program will start in April 2022 and continue until December 31, 2022 to ensure continuity of access to tutoring to ensure students can catch-up as they start the next school year.
As part of its commitment to support student mental health and well-being in 2022-23, Ontario will be investing more than $90 million including $10 million in new funding, of which $5 million is to be used for evidence based mental health programs and resources. This funding will help to retain the existing mental health workers in schools, including the 180 mental health professionals that are providing critical supports directly to students in secondary schools across the province.
In addition, the Ministry of Education, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, will engage with a wide range of stakeholders to leverage the best available evidence on emerging student mental health needs. Consultations are expected to start in summer 2022.
The Ontario government also announced $26 million to renew funding for school-focused nurses in public health units, with up to 625 nurses supporting student health and well-being, along with and infection prevention and control plans and other supports to keep schools as safe as possible.