Ontario’s 2018 budget will directly impact students in northwestern Ontario, in a good way. Director of Education for the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, Sean Monteith, says that he has no criticisms for Ontario’s 2018 budget.

The provincial budget was released last week, which included investments in health-care, child-care, home care and mental health, as well as job creation initiatives. Monteith says that from an educator’s perspective, the budget provided many great programs and announcements for local students, as well as students across the province.

“From an education perspective, from a public school board position, the budget was very favourable. The attention that has been growing around wrap-around supports and services for kids and kids in northern Ontario, like mental health services, counselling, like addiction services, child care. Those were all in the budget. This is a very favourable budget for school boards. When there’s investments into certain areas, it underscores that area as a priority. The same priorities that we have in northwestern Ontario are reflected in the budget. I’m pleased.” he said.

The budget included funding announcements for free preschool child care starting in 2020, over 100,000 new child care spaces across the province, increasing access to before and after-school programs, access to mental health supports in high schools, the creation of free online textbooks and connecting 250,000 students in 850 schools to high-speed internet in 2018.

“The KPDSB is so large, distribution and expansion of high-speed internet is critical. It’s critical to network and join our staff with other staff around the region and the province. It’s critical for kids to access resources and online learning. It’s a good budget for kids in northwestern Ontario. It’s going to benefit kids in remote areas in northwestern Ontario. There are a lot of kids and families in the area that live in remote areas. The internet announcements will mitigate some of that. It will help level the playing field for kids and families in the region.” Monteith added.

Senior Regional Cabinet Minister for northwestern Ontario, Michael Gravelle, was also supportive of the budget, saying that the budget made crucial investments in many sectors across Ontario.

However, Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell, Progressive Conservative Nominee for the Kenora – Rainy River district, Greg Rickford and Kenora Mayor Dave Canfield all felt that the budget announcement missed the mark for the region.

Sioux Lookout Mayor Doug Lawrance added that he  wasn’t thrilled with the budget, although he wasn’t overly disappointed either, saying that it was “status quo”.

Ontario is projecting a balanced budget this year, but will face a deficit of $6.7 billion next year. The budget isn’t projected to balance again until 2024 – 2025.

The next provincial election is set for June 7.

For more information:
Ontario budget ‘status quo’, Lawrance