“No commitments to raise wages, increase benefits, guarantee paid sick, or invest in public schools,” says Ontario CUPE President, Freh Hahn.
Parents in Ontario may be receiving money directly from the provincial government soon.
On August 9, the Ontario government announced a few changes they are making to their budget for this year, which also includes a plan to provide students with tutoring support to help address the disparities in their schooling because of the pandemic. While the Ontario government introduced this tutoring program in April 2022, they will now be committing to investing an additional $225 million in “direct payments to parents” to assist in supporting kids with their learning.
The Ontario government will share additional details on how families can access this support later this year. It is still unclear if all parents will have access to the payments or if the funding distribution will be more strategic and targeted.
“This additional funding will put money directly into the pockets of parents and guardians and is in addition to the more than $26.6 billion the province is investing in public education this year – the most ever in Ontario’s history,” shared Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Elizabeth Dowdeswell.
In 2021, the Ford government allocated $980 million to offset costs incurred by parents as a direct consequence of virtual learning during the pandemic. During this time, parents received $400 per child, aged 0 to Grade 12 and parents with special needs children under the age of 21 received $500.
Social media discussions have already started taking the rounds with many questions surrounding why the additional $225 million is not being designated to school boards in Ontario.
President of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario Fred Hahn shared displeasure at the poor decision-making of the Ontario government: “Education workers are bargaining with the government as we speak, calling for real investments in schools to provide Ontario’s students with quality education. Meanwhile, this throne speech announced $225 million that would go to parents who are bafflingly supposed to now find private tutors to help their kids catch up.”
Aside from this, low-income families or individuals with a disability under the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) can expect a 5% income support increase beginning September 2022.