School boards in Huron-Bruce will receive more than $8.4 million in funding to upgrade infrastructure at local schools and protect against COVID-19. The funding comes from the governments of Ontario and Canada through the COVID-19 Reliance Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP).
Funding will support building retrofits, updates and upgrades to their schools and co-located child care 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.
The distribution of funding per school board is as follows:
Avon Maitland District School Board $2,974,509
Huron Perth Catholic District School Board $1,700,000
Bluewater District School Board $3,447,500
Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board $305,532
“This pandemic has turned our world upside down and make every day a challenge and every week uncertain. These funds will help us get back to a more regular regimen sooner,” said Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson.
“Today’s announcement of support for Ontario’s schools will help provide critical infrastructure to keep students, teachers, and staff in Huron-Bruce and across the province safe through the pandemic and into the future,” said Huron-Bruce MP Ben Lobb.
The investments build on the more than $1 billion the Ontario government has invested since 2019 in new schools and child care spaces. Supported by provincial funding, 95 percent 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.
“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,” said Minister of Education Stephen Lecce.
“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,” he added.
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.
- The COVID-19 Resilience stream will deliver $656.5 million to support individual school board submissions for education related projects.
- The Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) is a 10-year, $30-billion federal, provincial and municipal program that provides funding to improve public transit; community, culture and recreation; green; and rural and northern community infrastructure. Ontario is investing $10.2 billion in this program.
- The federal COVID-19 Resilience stream has 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.