Legislative Update – February 14, 2020

2020 2/19 | Connects Page, Provincial Updates

A photo of Queen's Park in Toronto from the front on a sunny day.

The Legislative Assembly of Ontario resumes on February 18, 2020, after Family Day. 

2020 Pre-Budget Consultations and Ministry of Education 2020-21 Education Funding Consultation

At the end of January, the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs held Pre-Budget Consultation public hearings in Toronto, Sioux Lookout, Thunder Bay, Kitchener-Waterloo, Belleville, and Niagara. Four member boards were chosen to speak at the hearings to advocate for stable, responsive and equitable funding to support student achievement and well-being. OPSBA did provide a brief submission to the Committee.  In addition, OPSBA responded to the January 13 Ministry of Education consultation memo that asked stakeholders to provide “comments on initiatives that could support reducing red tape and administrative burden for the education sector.”  Our response was based on our comprehensive member engagement process that included:

  • Input at November regional meetings
  • Input from Northern member boards at PES regional meeting
  • Input from Indigenous Trustees’ Council at PES meeting
  • Input from OPSBA’s Policy Development and Education Program Work Teams
  • Data from the Board of Directors survey
  • Data from the member board senior business officials survey
  • Connections with key stakeholders, including PCODE and our student trustees
  • OPSBA senior team advice

Student Transportation

On January 27, Sam Oosterhoff, the parliamentary assistant to the education minister, announced the province is moving ahead with a review of its school bus funding model. The province has established a Student Transportation Advisory Group to guide the review that will include representatives from school board associations and school bus stakeholder groups. The review is to include: Funding formula for student transportation; Consortia model and operations; and student transportation procurement. OPSBA attended the Advisory Group’s first meeting, which was held on January 28, and a second stakeholder meeting will occur on February 27, 2020. 

Cannabis Consultation

On February 10, the government announced a consultation on the potential implementation of additional cannabis business opportunities in the future, including:

  1. facilitating the sale of cannabis for consumption in establishments like lounges and cafes (cannabis consumption establishments); and,
  2. cannabis special occasion permits (SOPs).

The government’s news release stated they would be meeting with “key groups, including industry representatives, public health and safety organizations, education stakeholders and Indigenous representatives, to ensure their expertise and advice help to inform next steps.” Details have been posted on the government’s Ontario Regulatory Registry. The deadline for feedback is March 10, 2020. OPSBA will connect with the Ministry of Education about education stakeholder engagement and the Policy Development Work Team will review the feedback form for educational impacts.

Poverty Reduction Strategy

Last December the provincial government announced its intention to develop a new poverty reduction strategy for Ontario. Recently, the online survey was launched to seek feedback on the following areas:

  • encouraging job creation and connecting people to employment
  • providing people with the right supports and services
  • lowering the cost of living and making life more affordable
  • the current Poverty Reduction Strategy

The government is engaging with Indigenous partners, the public, people with experience living in poverty, service providers, employers, local partners and municipalities. The deadline to respond is March 30, 2020. OPSBA’s work teams will review the online survey components.

Other Information

Please note: There continue to be many statements issued by the Minister of Education regarding labour issues. These are available on the Ministry of Education’s website.