Fix Our Schools contributed this submission to the provincial pre-budget consultation process. It highlights that the $1.4 billion/year our provincial government is currently allocating for school renewal is simply not enough to start to reduce the $15.9 billion of disrepair in Ontario’s schools. To make up for the 20 years when provincial funding was a mere fraction of what it ought to have been as per industry standards, economist Hugh Mackenzie suggests that an additional investment of $1.6 billion/year is needed to start to truly fix Ontario’s schools as per the following breakdown:
Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s pre-budget consultations provide an opportunity to urge our federal government to prioritize school buildings as critical infrastructure. Please engage in this process by:
- Asking questions at the the in-person pre-budget consultation in Toronto this Thursday, January 14 @ 7 pm at St. Margaret’s of Scotland Church, 222 Ridley Avenue (near Avenue & Wilson)
- Provide written feedback on Facebook
- Provide written feedback via the Government of Canada feedback form
Tweet using the hashtag #pbc16
Here are some bullet points to help make it easy to ask questions in-person or provide written feedback!
- Schools must be considered critical public infrastructure in this country. Yet, we’ve allowed publicly funded schools from coast to coast fall into states of gross disrepair.
- In Ontario alone – there is $15-billion of disrepair in publicly funded schools, $1.7-billion of which has been identified as urgent and critical by the Ontario Auditor-General.
- The Auditor-General has also confirmed that $1.4-billion per year is needed to maintain Ontario public schools, yet for the past five years our provincial government has only allotted between $150-500-million.
- When your government was elected in October, you committed a significant increase in infrastructure spending. Premier Wynne was thrilled, stating this will allow Ontario “to do more – and to do it faster!”
- My question is: “How will you work with provincial governments to ensure that publicly funded schools across Canada are considered critical public infrastructure and funded appropriately to ensure that the buildings in which children spend six hours each day are safe and well-maintained?”
- I recognize that public education is a provincial jurisdiction but the infrastructure funding, policies and approach provided by our federal government can certainly impact how disrepair in public schools is prioritized and addressed by Canada’s provincial governments.