KAWARTHA LAKES-The governments of Canada and Ontario announced $656.5 million in funding to provide infrastructure upgrades to protect students and staff from COVID-19 in the province’s schools.
The infrastructure upgrades were announced by the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure for Ontario, and the Honourable Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education for Ontario.
The majority of funding will support ventilation projects that improve air quality in classrooms across the province according to government officials. Projects include HVAC renovations to improve air quality, installing water bottle refilling stations to improve access to safe drinking water, investing in network and broadband infrastructure to support remote learning, and space reconfigurations such as new walls and doors to enhance physical distancing.
“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.” said Laurie Scott , Minister of Infrastructure for Ontario.
Local breakdown of funding for school boards in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock:
|Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board||$10,750,000|
|Trillium Lakelands District School Board||$7,485,000|
|Durham District School Board||$17,590,360|
|Peterborough V N C Catholic District School Board||$8,356,433|
|Durham Catholic District School Board||$7,442,675|
The Government of Canada is investing $525.2 million towards these projects through the COVID-19 Resilience stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The Government of Ontario is contributing more than $131.3 million to the projects.
“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 for Ontario stated.
The COVID-19 Resilience stream, implemented in response to the pandemic, allows the Government of Canada to invest up to 80 per cent in projects that support provinces, and up to 100 per cent in projects that support territories and Indigenous communities in their response to the pandemic.
The COVID-19 Resilience stream has been added to the over $33-billion Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to help fund pandemic-resilient infrastructure. Existing program streams have also been adapted to include more eligible project categories.
There’s no word on when the money will start flowing.