Earlier in November, the municipal government released a document outlining plans for Ontario’s economy. Since then, Ontario announced it will be investing $600 million to build 78 more schools and childcare spaces.
The plan also stated that Ontario will be improving healthcare services, the building of highways, housing, and high-speed internet. Essentially, the province will be prioritizing critical infrastructure through increased investment in these industries.
One of the many projects that fall under this funding is the Capitol Priorities Program. The program will encourage school boards to initiate projects, or priorities, that support students who require urgent accommodations.
This investment will create “19,700 new student spaces, and 1,525 new licensed childcare spaces in schools.” School boards will be able to submit 10 of their most key Capital Priorities for ministry funding.
Focusing on student spaces, the Ontario government highlights the importance of improving the education system. This investment is part of the many projects the Ontario government commits to in support of the school system.
In the coming 10 years, the government plans to “build more schools, improve existing facilities and support education-related projects.” This means that schools can expect changes in their ventilation systems and other repairs.
With their $14 billion budget to support school construction, the Ontario government has already added 300 childcare and education building projects and will continue to develop more infrastructure. In the next first years, the government hopes to build 30,000 licensed child-care spaces for families and communities across the province.
With the increase of these new facilities, many questions whether Ontario will be able to assign teachers in time.
Currently, Ontario is facing a shortage of teachers, as several school boards have hired uncertified candidates. Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce tells CTV News that “hiring unqualified teachers has always been permitted in Ontario for exceptional circumstances.”
Due to the need for teaching positions, the Durham District School Board has taken the unusual approach of advertising positions to uncertified teachers. This sudden increase in unqualified teachers takes a major hit on the Ontario education system, as it does not give students access to optimal learning.
Currently, the superintendent of Education Durham District School Board, Heather Mundy, has said that unfilled positions are being covered by central board staff, principals, and vice-principals.
Moving forward, the Ontario government must understand that introducing new learning spaces also require experienced educators for students. Investment in the education field comes with ensuring certified caretakers and the best opportunities.