The Legislative Assembly of Ontario has adjourned for a constituency week that coincides with Easter and Passover. MPPs will reconvene on Monday, April 29, 2019.

Bill 100, Protecting What Matters Most Act (Budget Measures)

This bill was introduced on April 11 by Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli. This is the government’s budget implementation legislation and includes 61 schedules – changes to various Acts. It is currently at Second Reading debate. The changes to Schedule 20 – Education Act are:

  • The Schedule re-enacts subsection 188 (5) of the Education Act to give the Lieutenant Governor in Council the regulation-making authority to provide for representation on boards of the interests of bands in respect of which there are pupils admitted to the board under subsection 188 (1) or enrolled at a school pursuant to an agreement under section 188.

Many member boards have entered into productive and positive Education and Reverse Education Service Agreements with their local First Nations communities. OPSBA’s Indigenous Trustees’ Council and staff have participated in the Minister’s Working Group that examined current Education Service Agreements legislation and practice and made recommendations to the Ministry and the Minister regarding this new approach. This amendment would allow the Lieutenant Governor in Council to make regulations to allow First Nation representation on public school boards where Indigenous communities are sending students under the new approach.

  • The Schedule also re-enacts section 231 of the Act to prohibit a board from having an in-year deficit for a fiscal year unless a deficit is authorized by a regulation or approved by the Minister.  Related amendments are also made.

The Ministry of Education has said more details will be available following government approvals and released through the GSNs, which is still targeted for the end of April. The change of moving this from the Education Act to regulation is to give the government more flexibility to adjust the provisions as necessary. Traditionally, school boards have been able to carry a 1% budget deficit without the Minister of Education’s approval when submitting their budget in June. OPSBA staff will review the regulation, once filed, to understand what circumstances will be outlined for boards to run these deficits.

For more information, see OPSBA Budget Highlights

Other Budget Information

Task Force on School Boards – The government announced the creation of this task force that will look, “at all aspects of the education system, including school board operations, while respecting the four publicly funded education systems in Ontario. The Ministry of Education will be undertaking a thorough review of how boards can conduct their operations in the most efficient manner to best serve students and parents while ensuring their long‐term sustainability.” It has been suggested that the focus of the efficiencies would be focused on back-room operations but no details have been released.

Ontario Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses (CARE) tax creditThe CARE tax credit would cost about $390 million annually and provide about $1,250 per family, on average, in new child care support to about 300,000 families to access a broad range of child care options, including care in centres, homes and camps. Benefits will be provided on a sliding income scale up to family incomes of $150,000, with credits of up to $6,000 per child under seven, $3,750 per child between the ages of seven and 16, and up to $8,250 per child with a severe disability. The news release, CARE to Help Ontario Parents Find and Afford the Best Care for Their Kids, was issued on April 12, 2019.

Bill 48, Safe and Supportive Classrooms Act

This legislation was originally introduced on October 25, 2018 by Minister of Education Lisa Thompson. On February 25, OPSBA President Cathy Abraham and Executive Director Rusty Hick presented to the Standing Committee on Social Policy to address some of the proposed amendments, including a policy regarding service animals in schools. The bill received Royal Assent on April 3, 2019 and the Ministry of Education has now launched a consultation on service animals which includes an online survey and a draft PPM. The consultation deadline is May 4, 2019. OPSBA’s work teams and senior staff from member boards will be part of our response submission.

For more information, see the consultation

Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act

This legislation was originally introduced on December 6, 2018 by Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Todd Smith. On March 18, OPSBA sent a written submission to the Standing Committee on General Government responding to proposed amendments in Schedule 3 that affected the Education Act and the Child Care and Early Years Act. The bill received Royal Assent on April 3, 2019. Attached is a memo from the Ministry of Education that provides an overview of the legislative and regulatory updates stemming from the passed legislation. The memo also includes information about a public consultation concerning regulatory amendments to both Acts. OPSBA will review the proposal for those areas that affect our members and connect with the Early Learning leads at our member boards and the Policy Development Work Team. The deadline for comments is May 19, 2019.

Other Information

April 3, 2019 – OPSBA Letter to Quebec’s Minister of Education in support of the Quebec English School Boards Association

April 5, 2019 – Ministry of Education Memo B12, Provincial Working Group on Health and Safety – High Temperature Guidelines

April 5, 2019 – Ministry of Education Memo SBO4, Supporting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder – Eligibility, Funding and Financial Reporting Requirements

April 18, 2019 – Ministry of Education news release, Ontario Supporting Child Care Professionals