thumb-2020-023
thumb-2020-023 This article is more than 1 year old
News

Doug Ford Quietly Removed $1 Billion in Planned Funding to Repair Ontario Schools

Doug Ford’s math isn’t adding up

Ontario Premier Doug Ford pledged yesterday to provide $500 million in funding to build new schools and “refurbish” existing ones as part of the government’s ten-year, $12 billion plan — except that’s a billion dollars less than his promise in 2019.

“By making these smart investments today, we will ensure our students and teachers have access to modern facilities to learn,” Ford told the media yesterday as his government announced the release of $500 million in capital investments.

There’s just one problem: The government’s math doesn’t add up.

Ricardo Tranjan, an economist with the Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives, noted the announced $500 million does little to modernize Ontario’s schools  — it’s only 3.125% of the school system’s $16.3 billion repair backlog that was identified by the auditor general last November.

“Whatever this government is pledging for the next ten years, what it’s investing this year is 3% of what was needed last year,” Tranjan told PressProgress. ” And there has been no announcement of significant funding to make it possible for kids to return to school.”

 

While the government promised back in January, to continue spending $1.4 billion per year on school repairs and renewals in 2020-21 just as it did in 2019-20, that is contradicted by its long-term pledge.

According to the government’s statement yesterday, the $500 million investment is part of a ten-year $12 billion plan to build new schools and repair existing ones.

$12 billion is not only about $4 billion less than the existing repair backlog, it’s also about $1 billion less than the $13 billion the government promised to spend over ten years last November.

Krista Wylie, Fix Our Schools Campaign Co-Founder, told PressProgress “In 2019, the Ford government pledged $13-billion over 10 years in capital grants and today, they have clawed back this commitment by $1-billion. As a parent, this is upsetting to see a government that claims to value the safety of our children actually proudly announce a decrease in funding for the critical infrastructure.”


In fact, if the government were committed to continuing to spend $1.4 billion on school repairs per year, what Ontario’s auditor general said was needed to maintain the existing school stock back in 2015, the 10-year total would be $14 billion, not $12 billion.

Neither the Premier’s office nor the ministry of education immediately responded to requests for comment from PressProgress.

 

Help us protect Canadians by holding the powerful accountable.

Journalism is an important public service. That’s why PressProgress is prioritizing stories aimed at keeping Canadians safe and holding the powerful accountable during the coronavirus pandemic.

Please consider supporting our award-winning non-profit news organization so we can keep making a positive impact for Canadians.

 

Support Our Journalism
PressProgress
PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

Most Shared

Copy of Thumbnail template Analysis

Erin O’Toole’s Plan to ‘Secure Pensions’ Could Allow Companies to Cut Pensions, Labour Experts Say

Related Stories

News

Elections Canada Admits It Failed to Meet ‘Expectations’ as Long Lines Obstruct Election Day Voting

View the post
News

Confrontation Between Struggling Worker and Brampton Conservative Candidate Goes Viral on Social Media

View the post
News

Conservatives Green Lit Candidate Who Promoted Tweet Calling Black Lives Matter a ‘Terrorist Group’

View the post

Explainers

Work & rights

Shanice Regis-Wilkins

How Labour Activists Pushed For Policies That Protect Workers and the Environment This Election

View the post
Equity & Politics

Erica Ifill

Why Justin Trudeau’s Strategy on Affordable Housing Isn’t Working

View the post
Human rights & inclusion

Amira Elghawaby

Why Immigrant, Newcomer and Racialized Communities Still Face Barriers to Voting in Canada

View the post