Education funding gap hurting students at risk—study

May 1, 2007

TORONTO—Ontario’s at-risk students are slipping through the cracks in the $1.2 billion funding gap caused by the province’s education funding formula, says a study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

According to the study, authored by CCPA Research Associate Hugh Mackenzie, the flaws in Ontario’s funding formula have created large funding gaps in special programming for students from low-income families, ESL students, and other students at risk, and for school operations and maintenance. Not only is the funding for students at risk inadequate, but it is also routinely diverted to fill other funding shortfalls.

“Gaps in funding are paid for not by school boards as institutions, as the government would like us to believe, but by students who are expected to study in deteriorating facilities and by students at risk for whom needed support programs either do not exist or fall far short of what is needed,” says Mackenzie.

The $667 million in increased education funding for 2007-08 announced by the provincial government will do little to ease the funding crisis faced by many of Ontario’s school boards. $592.7 million of the increased funding is already accounted for by increased costs resulting from the provincial education labour framework agreement and the final stage in the promise to reduce primary class sizes. The remaining $74 million would be barely sufficient to cover the remaining current year cost pressures, assuming inflation was at 2%.

“School boards will be left without additional funding to deal with the carry-over of prior years’ funding pressures, and no funding to address the more fundamental structural problems with the funding formula itself,” says Mackenzie.


Missing the Mark: How Ontario's education funding formula is shortchanging students is available on the CCPA web site at

For more information contact Kerri-Anne Finn, CCPA Communications Officer, at 613-563-1341 x306.