Investment in Local Schools Boards to Protect Against COVID-19Published on April 20, 2021
Joint investments by Canada and Ontario will upgrade infrastructure to support response to the COVID-19 pandemic and keep students and staff safe
April 20, 2021
YORK REGION — The governments of Ontario and Canada are providing over $32 million to school boards in York Region to upgrade infrastructure at local schools to protect against COVID-19. This includes $15,119,007 for York Region District School Board and $17,582,500 for York Catholic District School Board. The funding is being provided through the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
The funding for these school boards will support building retrofits, updates and upgrades to their schools and co-located child care facilities. Projects can include HVAC renovations to improve air quality, installing water bottle refilling stations to improve access to safe drinking water, and space reconfigurations such as new walls and doors to enhance physical distancing.
"Ontario and Canada's joint funding of $15,119,007 to York Region District School Board and $17,582,500 to York Catholic District School Board is great news for students, families and school staffs in Markham-Unionville and across York Region,” said Billy Pang, MPP for Markham-Unionville. “As part of the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, this significant funding will help upgrade school infrastructure to keep students and staff safe amidst the COVID-19 pandemic."
The investments build on the more than $1 billion the Ontario government has invested since 2019 in new schools and child care spaces and additions to provide working families with access to quality, safe and state-of-the-art learning spaces. Supported by provincial funding, 95% of Ontario schools have reported upgrades or enhancements to their air filtration systems, with over 40,000 HEPA filters and other ventilation devices in classrooms.
The Government of Canada is investing up to $525.2 million towards these projects through the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The Government of Ontario is contributing $131.3 million to the projects.
Annually, the Ontario government invests $1.4 billion in continuous maintenance and improvements to school facilities.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly highlighted, investments in the health and wellness of Ontarians is more critical than ever. Supporting air-quality and other infrastructure projects in schools helps to protect our communities, making them stronger, healthier and safer today, and for years to come.”
Hon. Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure
“Ontario’s government is focused on protecting the lives of students, staff, and their families. We put a plan into action that leads the nation — delivering air ventilation improvements to over 95% of schools, 7,000 additional staff, and improved cleaning, testing, and stronger screening. This one-time investment will help improve the safety of schools, building upon Ontario’s annual investment of over $1.4 billion to maintain schools and $550 million to build new schools. We also recognize that in addition to these school-based infrastructure investments, Ontario’s plan to defeat this pandemic includes vaccines for school staff. We have prioritized education staff in high priority communities and all special education staff across the province, and will expand to all staff as supply becomes available.”
Hon. Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education and MPP for King-Vaughan
“Protecting the health and well-being of Ontarians is our government’s top priority, and we are using every tool at our disposal to keep children, families and education staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding announced today will be used to enhance infrastructure in schools across Newmarket and Aurora, ensuring that they continue to be safe and productive environments for our children to learn now and in the future.”
Christine Elliott, MPP for Newmarket-Aurora
“Today’s investments of more than $15 million for the York Region District School Board and more than $17 million for the York Catholic District School Board are crucial to improving and enhancing our local schools. I know these funds will be put to excellent use upgrading facilities to ensure they are modern, safe and healthy for our students, teachers, and staff.”
Paul Calandra, MPP for Markham-Stouffville
“Today’s announcement is excellent news for children, parents and teachers in our community. Our government is using every tool at its disposal to ensure our children and youth can get back into the classrooms as quickly and safely as possible. This much-needed funding for our local schools means more students, teachers and support staff in Vaughan-Woodbridge are better protected during the COVID-19 pandemic, while also safeguarding their mental health and overall well-being.”
Michael Tibollo, MPP for Vaughan-Woodbridge
“Students deserve to learn in safe, environment. Investing in infrastructure at local schools will help to keep the students, educators and families safe during the pandemic. Additional funding of $15,119,007 and $17,582,500 to York Region District School Board and York Catholic District School Board respectively will help to upgrade their schools and co-located childcare facilities, and also helps to improve the classroom ventilation.”
Logan Kanapathi, MPP for Markham-Thornhill
“The safety and well-being of our students, staff and parents will always be our top priority. That is why we are investing more than $32.7 million dollars in infrastructure upgrades for schools in York Region. This funding will improve the air they breathe, the water they drink and the space they learn at. These investments, along with the vaccination of staff will make our schools and our community safer now and in the future.”
Michael Parsa, MPP for Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill
"This over $30 million investment is excellent news for students, parents, and educators in York Region. We will use every tool available to assist in the fight against this pandemic, and investments in infrastructure can play a crucial role in helping us have schools return to normalcy as soon as possible".
Daisy Wai, MPP for Richmond Hill
- The COVID-19 Resilience stream will deliver $656.5 million to support individual school board submissions for education related projects.
- The Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) is a 10-year, $30-billion federal, provincial and municipal program that provides funding to improve public transit; community, culture and recreation; green; and rural and northern community infrastructure. Ontario is investing $10.2 billion in this program.
- The federal COVID-19 Resilience streamhas been adapted from ICIP to respond to the impacts of COVID-19. This ICIP stream, delivered through bilateral agreements with provinces and territories, has been designed to help add flexibilities, expand project eligibility and accelerate approvals.
- Ontario schools have been provided with more than $1.6 billion to better protect students, staff and families from COVID-19 including support for online learning, promoting student mental health, hiring additional staff and investing $100 million ear-marked for immediate improvements to air quality and ventilation.
- Ontario is conducting voluntary targeted testing for asymptomatic students and school staff as an added layer of protection against the transmission of COVID-19.
- The Ontario government invests $550 million annually to build new schools.
Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect the people of Ontario from COVID-19.
Kitty Huang | Legislative Assistant
MPP Billy Pang Constituency Office
Email. [email protected]