Investments in Ontario School Infrastructure Will Protect Against COVID-19Published on April 14, 2021
ELGIN-MIDDLESEX-LONDON — The governments of Ontario and Canada are investing up to $16,729,500 in schools in the Thames Valley District School Board and London District Catholic School Board to upgrade infrastructure and protect against COVID-19. The funding is being provided through the COVID-19 Reliance Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
The funding for will support building retrofits, updates and upgrades to their school facilities. Projects can include HVAC renovations to improve air quality, installing water bottle refilling stations to improve access to safe drinking water, and space reconfigurations such as new walls and doors to enhance physical distancing.
For example, the Thames Valley District School Board has received funding to enable outdoor Wi-Fi Access Point enhancements at 30 area schools: Aldborough PS, Arthur Voaden SS, the Balaclava St. Education Centre, Central Elgin CI, Davenport PS, Dunwich-Dutton PS, East Elgin SS, Elgin Court PS, Eva Circé Côté FI PS, Forest Park PS, John Wise PS, June Rose Callwood PS, Kettle Creek PS, Lambeth PS, Locke’s PS, Lord Dorchester SS, McGregor PS, Mitchell Hepburn PS, New Sarum PS, Northdale Central PS, P. E. Trudeau FI PS, Parkside CI, Port Burwell PS, River Heights PS, Southwold PS, Springfield PS, Straffordville PS, Summers’ Corners PS, West Elgin SS, and West Nissouri PS.
“It is critical that Elgin-Middlesex-London schools, many of them rural and older facilities, receive the necessary infrastructure upgrades to protect student and staff wellbeing and enhance technological capability,” said Jeff Yurek, MPP. “I am proud that the provincial government continues to prioritize the safety of all those learning and working in our school system.”
The investments build on the more than $1 billion the Ontario government has invested since 2019 in new schools and child care spaces and additions to provide working families with access to quality, safe, and state-of-the-art learning spaces. Supported by provincial funding, 95% of Ontario schools have reported upgrades or enhancements to their air filtration systems, with over 40,000 HEPA filters and other ventilation devices in classrooms.
The Government of Canada is investing up to $525.2 million towards these projects through the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The Government of Ontario is contributing $131.3 million to the projects.
Annually, the Ontario government invests $1.4 billion in continuous maintenance and improvements to school facilities.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly highlighted, investments in the health and wellness of Ontarians is more critical than ever. Supporting air-quality and other infrastructure projects in schools helps to protect our communities, making them stronger, healthier and safer today, and for years to come.”
The Honourable Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure for Ontario
“Ontario’s government is focused on protecting the lives of students, staff, and their families. We put a plan into action that leads the nation — delivering air ventilation improvements to over 95% of schools, 7,000 additional staff, and improved cleaning, testing, and stronger screening. This one-time investment will help improve the safety of schools, building upon Ontario’s annual investment of over $1.4 billion to maintain schools and $550 million to build new schools. We also recognize that in addition to these school-based infrastructure investments, Ontario’s plan to defeat this pandemic includes vaccines for school staff. We have prioritized education staff in high priority communities and all special education staff across the province and will expand to all staff as supply becomes available.”
Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education
- The COVID-19 Resilience stream will deliver up to $700 million for education-related projects including $656.5 million to support individual school board submissions.
- The Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) is a 10-year, $30-billion federal, provincial and partner program that provides funding to improve public transit; community, culture and recreation; green; and rural and northern community infrastructure. Ontario is investing over $10.2 billion in this program.
- The federal COVID-19 Resilience streamhas been adapted from ICIP to respond to the impacts of COVID-19. This ICIP stream, delivered through bilateral agreements with provinces and territories, has been designed to help add flexibilities, expand project eligibility and accelerate approvals.
- Ontario schools have been provided with more than $1.6 billion to better protect students, staff and families from COVID-19 including support for online learning, promoting student mental health, hiring additional staff and investing $100 million ear-marked for immediate improvements to air quality and ventilation.
- Ontario is conducting voluntary targeted testing for asymptomatic students and school staff as an added layer of protection against the transmission of COVID-19.
- The Ontario government invests $550 million annually to build new schools.
Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect the people of Ontario from COVID-19.