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The Legislative Assembly of Ontario is in session and will rise for Winter Break following the sitting on Thursday, December 9, 2021.

COVID-19 Update / Return to School Fall 2021

As of the morning of November 19, 1,242 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in publicly funded schools in the past 14 days. Of those cases, 1,120 are students, 112 are staff, and 10 are not identified. Seven of the 4,844 schools in the province are currently closed.

On November 18, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, announced a series of Health and Safety Updates for schools, including the resumption of regular timetabling models in secondary schools (pending local public health approval) the release of the second half of 2021-22 COVID-19 funding, and a rapid antigen testing program for the Winter Break that will provide each student with five take-home tests. OPSBA President Cathy Abraham issued a statement of support, which also reflects our ongoing advocacy.

See the memo outlining the health and safety updates in details.

See the updated Guide to Reopening Schools and the media backgrounder.

On November 19, Health Canada authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine in children 5 to 11 years of age. This is the first COVID-19 vaccine authorized in Canada for use in this age group. Deliveries of vaccines are expected shortly, and shots are expected in arms before the end of the month.

Memos

The following two additional memos concerning returning to school in the fall have recently been sent to school boards:

  1. November 10, 2021 regarding Next Steps for De-Streaming
  2. November 10, 2021 regarding Ontario School Year Calendar 2022-2023

Child Care

On November 12, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce sent a letter to Federal Ministers Gould and Freeland regarding a child care agreement for Ontario.

Current Legislation

Bill 43, Build Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2021

This legislation was introduced on November 4, 2021 by Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy. It contains 21 Schedules or changes to various Acts, which will implement the details of the Fall Economic Statement and the “Build Ontario” plan. Schedule 6 includes changes to the Education Act. The proposed amendments do not have any impact on tax that school boards need to pay or the Education Property Tax they receive from municipalities.

Current Status: Referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs

Bill 13, Supporting People and Businesses Act, 2021

The legislation was introduced on October 7, 2021, by Nina Tangri, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. It includes 25 Schedules or proposed changes to various Acts, including Schedule 8 Education Act. “The Education Act is amended to remove references to ranked ballot elections, change when boards must elect their chairs and when the chief executive officer of a board must submit a report to the Minister, and eliminate certain requirements relating to the appointment of supervisory officers.” OPSBA staff have reviewed the draft legislation and regulatory proposal and sent in a brief response on November 10, 2021.

Current Status: Referred to the Standing Committee on General Government

Other News Releases and Information

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