Dear Neighbour,

Today, the Ford government unveiled plans for the upcoming school year and announced per-student funding for 2020-21.

Plan for re-opening schools
School boards will be asked to plan for the following three scenarios -- online learning, in-class learning or a medley of the two. You can read the details of the three options below.

School boards have been asked to prepare their own safety plans for the upcoming school year and submit them to the ministry by August 4, 2020. School boards are also required to communicate with parents and students prior to the start of the 2020-21 school year, outlining the safety plan, guidance on health and safety measures and protocols, and any other changes that will be implemented when schools open in September.

Funding for 2020-21
Ford government’s per-student funding for the 2020-21 school will see an increase of only
$250 per student on average. After last year’s cuts to per-student funding, course cuts, class-size hikes and months of missed school due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this falls well short of the investment needed to address the challenges students and staff are facing. This is also not sufficient to enable the measures that boards will need to make school safe in September. 

As you can see, the heavy lifting for the re-opening of schools has been left to local school boards by the province. Without proper funding, making these plans a reality will be extremely difficult. My colleagues and I have called on the government to step up and fund education properly, restoring the funding lost in last year’s cuts and providing what’s necessary to get through the additional challenges of COVID-19.

You can find other provincial updates below.

As always, wash your hands, practise physical distancing, wear a mask when needed, be kind.


Bhutila Karpoche,
MPP for Parkdale—High Park
Details on the three scenarios for school re-opening in 2020-21
  1. Normal school day routine with enhanced public health protocols - Students going to school every day, in classes that reflect standard class size regulations.
  2. Modified school day routine - Based on public health advice, an adapted delivery model has been designed to allow for physical distancing and cohorts of students. Under this model, school boards are asked to maintain a limit of 15 students in a typical classroom at one time and adopt timetabling that would allow for students to remain in contact only with their classmates and a single teacher for as much of the school day as possible. This model would require an alternate day or alternate week delivery to a segment of the class at one time.
  3. At home learning - Should the school closure be extended, or some parents choose not to send their child back to school, school boards need to be prepared to offer remote education. Remote education should be delivered online to the greatest extent possible, including the establishment of minimum expectations for students to have direct contact with their teacher at the same time on a regular basis, also known as synchronous learning. Synchronous learning can be used as part of whole-class instruction, in smaller groups of students, and/or in a one-on-one context.

The full announcement can be found here.

Exposure Notification App
  • The provincial and federal government have partnered to launch a contact tracing app in the next two weeks called COVID Alert. It was developed by members of the Ontario Digital Service (ODS) and volunteers from Shopify.
  • Users will be able to voluntarily download the app to their smartphone and be notified anonymously if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 14 days. The app will be used nation-wide to ensure that interprovincial contact tracing is possible.
  • Using Bluetooth data, the app will be able to connect with all individuals who have had close contact with a positive case, if both parties are using the app, within 24 hours of being identified. It will direct those close contacts to self-isolate for 14 days and follow up for symptoms on every day of their self-isolation.
  • To learn more, click here.
Mental Health and Technology Support for Students
  • The government has announced $15M in funding through the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) for the purchase of classroom computers. These computers can be leveraged by school boards if needed to provide reliable technology access for at-home learners.
  • An additional $10M in funding has been announced for the hiring of mental health workers in schools across the province.
Extension of Emergency Orders
  • All emergency orders currently in force under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act have been extended to June 30, 2020.
  • You can view a full list of active emergency orders here.
  • Premier Ford has also announced that he will be seeking a further extension of the State of Emergency until July 15, 2020. This will go to a vote in the Legislature for approval next week.
Moratorium on Commercial Evictions
  • A moratorium on commercial evictions has been passed in the Legislature, temporarily halting or reversing evictions of commercial tenants who are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance for evictions from May 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020
  • This moratorium does not protect any commercial tenants who are not eligible for the very narrow federal/provincial assistance and has, unfortunately, come too late for many businesses. We have already seen the devastating effects of COVID-19 on SMEs across our riding.
  • This moratorium also provides no protection for tenants whose landlords still refuse to apply for rent assistance, it simply pushes the eviction date down the road.
DriveTest Centres Gradually Reopen
  • Ontario’s driver testing provider, DriveTest, will begin offering limited services across the province beginning on June 22, working towards full resumption of services by September 2020.
  • DriveTest centres will begin serving customers based on when they were born to reduce crowding and support physical distancing. People with birthdays between January to June will be allowed to visit a centre the first week of reopening, and people with birthdays between July to December will have access the following week. Access will alternate weekly until full resumption of services.
  • All 56 full-time DriveTest centres will reopen on Monday for G1 and M1 knowledge tests, driver’s license exchanges, and commercial driver’s license applications and upgrades. Commercial road tests will be available by appointment at 28 locations across the province.
  • For full details, click here.
Consultation on Water Quantity Management Program
The Ontario government is seeking input on its water quantity management proposal. The program is supposed to protect the long-term sustainability of surface water and groundwater, and ensure these resources are properly managed and protected. The proposal gives municipalities more authority to withdraw groundwater in their communities for bottled water. The proposal will be open for public comment on the Environmental Registry until August 2, 2020, you can provide feedback here.
Other Provincial Updates
  • The Ontario government is continuing to move forward with 37 major infrastructure projects across the province using the public-private partnership (P3) model. Listed in the Spring 2020 P3 Market, this is a group of projects in the pre-procurement and procurement stages for which the province has committed funding.
  • The LCBO will be expanding made-in-Ontario options, and taking measures increased marketing, converting available shelf space, and making more products available for sale to support the Ontario beer, wine, and spirits industry
  • The federal and provincial governments have made a joint commitment to provide $10M in emergency assistance to beef and hog farmers. This funding will cover the increased costs of feeding market-ready cattle and hogs due to COVID-19 related processing delays while redirecting surplus pork products to help those in need.
  • The Ontario government will be providing a $25M loan to the Niagara Parks Commission to redevelop the historic Canadian Niagara Power Generating Station into a unique tourist attraction, supporting the Niagara Region’s vital tourism sector.
  • The province has announced an $850,000 investment into the Invasive Species Centre to support ongoing research into the prevention, detection, control, and eradication of invasive species across Ontario.
  • The government has announced $10M in funding for Indigenous-owned small and medium-sized businesses. Loans of up to $50K will be available for businesses excluded from existing federal and provincial COVID-19 response initiatives and will be delivered through the Support for People and Jobs Fund.
Heat Warning

Environment & Climate Change Canada has issued a heat warning for the Toronto area, it is estimated to last until Sunday. The City of Toronto has opened emergency cooling centres which will offer an air-conditioned place to rest indoors and receive a cool drink. Infection prevention and control measures will be in place. The closest Emergency Cooling Centres to Parkdale—High Park are:

  • Parkdale Library (1303 Queen St. W.) Open from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday this weekend.
  • Wallace Emerson Community Centre (1260 Dufferin St). Open from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday this weekend.
More information on cool spaces can be found here.
Reminder: For the most up-to-date information please visit Toronto Public Health, Ontario Ministry of Health, and the Public Health Agency of Canada. Contact information is available on my website here.
Community Office
While our office is closed to the public as part of our efforts to manage the COVID-19 virus, we will continue to provide services for constituents via phone and email. Thank you for your patience and flexibility during this time. 

Phone: 416-763-5630
Copyright © 2020 MPP for Parkdale—High Park, All rights reserved.

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