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

MPPs return to Queen’s Park on May 27, leaving eight sitting days scheduled until their summer break. 

Bill 108, More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019

This legislation was introduced on May 2, 2019, by Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark. OPSBA is reviewing the legislation and its proposed amendments, which includes a reference to Education Development Charges. The Ministry of Education has indicated that there will be engagement with the sector. We will continue our advocacy for an increase in the charges to cover board costs and flexibility in the regulation to support our member boards with areas of growth. The other piece included in Bill 108 is an amendment to the Education Act to “require a school board to give notice to the Minister if it plans to acquire or expropriate land and to allow the Minister to reject the board’s plans.”  Timelines for boards to notify the Minister and for the Minister to make a decision are to be determined by regulation. OPSBA is working with its member board business officials to gauge the impact of this added layer of oversight and its potential to make the expropriation process longer and more complicated.

Current Status: Second Reading Debate 

Bill 107, Getting Ontario Moving Act (Transportation Statute Law Amendment), 2019

This bill was introduced on May 2, by Minister of Transportation Jeff Yurek and proposes the ability for municipalities to impose fines on those drivers who drive past school buses with their stop-arms out and drivers who are speeding near schools. OPSBA has sent letters to both AMO and the City of Toronto.

Current Status: Standing Committee on General Government. The bill is due back in the House for third reading by May 29. 

Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act 

Child Care and Early Years Act and Education Act regulations
Following the passage of Bill 66 (Royal Assent received on April 3), the Ministry of Education issued a consultation document entitled Proposed Regulatory Amendments under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 and the Education Act. These regulations are part of the government’s multi-year and phased-in approach for many recent regulations, including those that were part of Bill 66. OPSBA did provide a submission with the feedback obtained via the Early Learning leads at our member boards, the Policy Development Work Team, as well as past commentary. 

Now Posted — Ministry of Education’s 2019-2020 Education Funding Technical Paper

The paper contains an overview and details of the grant formulas and other criteria for funding through the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) that are used to calculate school boards’ 2019-2020 budgets.

Click here for all other 2019-20 GSN and Priorities and Partnerships Fund information. 

Audit and Accountability Fund

On May 21, Premier Doug Ford announced funding of $7.35 million for the creation of an Audit and Accountability Fund. The fund is directed at “large urban municipalities and district school boards interested in conducting line-by-line reviews.” OPSBA has reached out to the Treasury Board Secretariat for more information and President Cathy Abraham has provided initial comments to the Toronto Star and the Canadian Press

School boards have many checks and balances throughout the year, including quarterly reporting, provision of estimates, revised estimates, and March and year-end financial statement reports. These last two reports have external auditor oversight, with the year-end report containing an audit opinion. In addition, the Ministry of Education’s finance staff review all submissions for compliance. Boards also have internal audit departments. 

On May 21, the Premier’s Office released Premier Ford Asks Partners to Find Four Per Cent Savings and Help Protect Front-Line Services 

Minister’s Task Force on School Boards

No details have been shared with the sector regarding this task force that was announced in the 2019-20 Ontario Budget. On May 22, OPSBA sent a letter to Minister Thompson requesting details and information to be released. The following is an excerpt from the 2019-20 Ontario Budget: Creating a Minister’s Task Force on School Boards: The government is committed to ensuring that every dollar spent in the classroom is having the greatest impact on student achievement. This involves looking 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. This process will be kicked off by the creation of a minister’s task force. The government looks forward to engaging with experts and education partners in this important conversation. 

Other Information

  • May 21, 2019, Ministry of Education news release, Ontario Launches First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Studies Curriculum
  • The 2019 Ontario Liberal Party will hold its AGM June 7 to 9, 2019, at the International Centre, Mississauga. Liberal MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers (Ottawa—Vanier), is vacating her seat to become the new principal of Massey College at the University of Toronto. Liberal MPP Marie-France Lalonde has announced she will step down to seek the federal Liberal nomination in her riding of Orléans. Once both members exit, the Ontario Liberals will be left with just five MPPs at Queen’s Park.
  • Ontario NDP Convention 2019 will be held June 14 to 16, at the Hamilton Convention Centre.