Op Ed: Sheehan Highlights Importance of Federal Government Support for a Safe Return to School

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Terry Sheehan

September 8, 2020 – Sault Ste. Marie, ON

School is critical for kids’ development and future success. The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for families, with schools closed and students separated from their classmates and friends. As we gradually and safely restart our economy, parents should be able to return to work and trust that their children are learning in a healthy environment. That is why the Government of Canada is working to support Canadians, in their efforts to ensure a safe return to school and protect the health of students and staff.

As parents across the country get ready to send their kids back to school, we know they are feeling concerned as they wonder about the continued safety of their families. That’s why our government is working closely with provinces and territories to be sure they have everything they need to ensure a safe return to school for students and faculty.

We have announced up to $2 billion in support for provinces and territories through the Safe Return to Class Fund and an additional $112 million in funding for First Nations to support community measures to ensure a safe return to school on reserves.

“As a former school trustee, I know how important these resources will be for our schools, our kids, parents, teachers and school staff all across Canada. I wish students from the Algoma District School Board, the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board, le Conseil scolaire public du Grand Nord de l’Ontario, et le Conseil scolaire catholique Nouvelon the very best this year, and I hope the support from our government makes back-to-school a little easier.” – Terry Sheehan, Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Economic Development (FedNor) and Official Languages

The Safe Return to Class Fund is in addition to the more than $19 billion previously announced for the Safe Restart Agreement to help provinces and territories safely restart their economies. This agreement includes funding to:

  • help support adapted learning spaces
  • improve air ventilation
  • increase hand sanitation and hygiene
  • purchases of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies
  • increase testing and contact tracing of the virus

As we reopen our schools and restart our economy, we will continue to take leadership and work together with provincial and territorial partners to protect the health and safety of all Canadians.

Quick Facts

  • Funding will be provided to Ontario in two instalments, with a first disbursement in Fall 2020 and additional funding available for early 2021, to ensure that Ontarians have support for the whole school year.
  • The funding by province and territory will be allocated based on the number of children aged between 4 and 18 years old, with a $2 million base amount provided to each jurisdiction with a maximum total allocation for Ontario: $763.34 million