Ontario to spend $784M on school repair and construction

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Construction of the Almaguin Highlands Secondary School | Wikimedia Commons

The Government of Ontario has announced it is spending $748 million to build 39 new schools and to renovate another 40 institutions across the province in 2018.

According to Education Minister Mitzie Hunter, 2,700 new child care centres will be constructed under this initiative.

“Ontario is committed to building learning environments that support student achievement and well-being,” Hunter said. “That’s why we continue to invest in new, renovated, and expanded schools so that every student can learn and grow in a space that enables them to reach their full potential.”

The announcement, which was made on Jan. 15, is a part of the province’s commitment last year to appropriate $1.4 billion on repairing schools.

However, critics said the funding is not enough to cover the $15 billion repair backlog at Ontario’s 4,900 public schools.

Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown also pointed out that students in some institutions are currently learning in unconducive conditions.

“I’ve toured schools where there is asbestos in the walls, doors, and windows that won’t close, and boilers that break down,” Brown said. “It’s a bit late now, before an election, for the Liberals to make a promise that should have been made years ago. Students deserve better.”

The initiative’s child care component was also criticized by New Democratic member Peggy Sattler for its unaffordability.

“The spaces aren’t going to help all these families who are going to have to pay the equivalent of a second mortgage every month to put their child in child care,” Sattler said.

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