Ontario’s school funding is falling behind: study

November 5, 2009

TORONTO –Ontario’s per student school funding places the province far behind most peer jurisdictions in North America, according to a comprehensive study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

No Time for Complacency: Education Funding Reality Check ranks Ontario in 46th place compared to American states and ninth among Canada’s 13 jurisdictions.

“The gap is most notable between Ontario and key North American cities,” says the study’s author, CCPA Research Associate Hugh Mackenzie. “In fact, New York City invests twice as much per student in public education as Toronto.

Mackenzie says Ontario’s school funding shortfall is built right into a funding formula that desperately needs an overhaul. He finds the following core flaws in the formula:

  • Insufficient funding to cover the basics of education, which forces school boards to draw money from other areas to fill the gaps.
  • Underinvestment in programs required to support students with special needs in Ontario’s diverse population.
  • A lack of funding for local priorities, which forces school boards to rely on school-based fundraising for services not covered by the funding formula. As a result, students in low-income areas go with less than students in high-income areas.
  • A narrow view of education that was designed to curtail school funding but is inconsistent with the economic and social needs of a modern society.
  • A complete lack of accountability to ensure the provincial government responds to the inadequacy of its funding to schools.

 “It’s long past time for a major overhaul in how Ontario funds its public school system,” says Mackenzie. “It’s also time for a permanent, independent third party commission to depoliticize the funding process and make sure Ontario’s schools get the funding they need to give students a fighting chance.”


For more information please call: Trish Hennessy (416) 525-4927.