Judith Monteith‑Farrell MPP, Thunder Bay–Atikokan

Government of Ontario

Ford must stop short-changing Northwestern schools

Published on September 17, 2020

QUEEN’S PARK – Doug Ford needs to start providing the funding school boards in Northwestern Ontario have been calling for instead of short-changing the safe reopening of schools, said NDP MPP Judith Monteith-Farrell during question period Thursday.

“Ellen Chambers, the chair of the Lakehead District School Board wrote to your minister of education and said this: ‘We are fighting a microscopic virus 10,000 times smaller than a grain of salt with an empty wallet.’

“The board needs more funding from the provincial government to manage a safe reopening of our school system, but they have not received the money.

“The board requested the provincial government fully fund the cost of ventilation updates; health and safety equipment; and proper physical distancing on all school buses and classrooms.

“When will this government finally decide to fund a safe return to school?

Monteith-Farrell told the legislature that Raymond Roy, Chair of the Rainy River District School Board, also wrote the minister of education. In his letter, Mr Roy explained that the funds they have received falls far short of the $1.9 M Rainy River schools need, while their reserve fund is not enough.

Mr Roy concluded in his letter: “The extraordinary costs associated with safely reopening schools should be covered by the province in order to respond to the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19.”

“What is this government waiting for?” said Monteith-Farrell.