Jill Andrew MPP, Toronto–St. Paul's

Government of Ontario

Ford’s cuts hit classrooms hard

Published on December 15, 2018

Friday night memos avalanche outline massive funding cuts.

Doug Ford has taken the axe to schools and education funding, even before his sham of a consultation is complete.

In a series of memos sent to school boards Friday night, the Ford government announced deep, callous cuts to Education Program (EPO) grants. Funding envelopes that have been eliminated entirely include the Daily Physical Activity for elementary school students and the Physical Activity for Secondary Students (PASS) grant, Tutors in the Classroom, and supports for racialized youth.

“These cuts are going to be deeply felt by students,” said NDP Education critic Marit Stiles. “Doug Ford’s cuts in classrooms are callous, and will only make the education and learning outcome challenges Ontario is facing even worse.”

Dozens of memos were sent to school boards after hours on Friday, outlining funding that will continue, funding that will be cut, and funding that’s entirely eliminated — although more than a dozen existing program envelopes are still uncertain, including funding for special needs students, which already struggled with cuts and underfunding under the Liberal government.

The memos arrived 24 hours before Ford’s fake public consultation was even slated to end.

“Doug Ford was never serious about consulting with students, parent and educators to improve education,” said Stiles “He couldn’t even make it all the way to the deadline before plowing ahead with his plans to cut.

“He may have thought he was being sneaky by making these cuts in the dead of a Friday night, but he won’t be able to hide the pain and disappointment students, teachers, educators and parents will feel as a result.”

The full list of reduced and cancelled funding is still being tallied among dozens of separate memos to each school board, but Stiles said the NDP will be fighting every cut.

“This is not a price our children should have to pay,” said Stiles. “They deserve better. They deserve more opportunities and resources, not less.”