Province to Provide $1.4 Billion to Make Schools More Accessible

Americas, Built Environment, News, October 7 2019

CANADA: Ontario is making its education system more inclusive to help all students in York Region reach their full potential in an accessible and supportive learning environment.

Accessibility symbol of a wheelchair

When the education system is not accessible, students are left out, impacting their participation  in the school experience. That is why Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, and Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, announced key actions the government is taking to help make schools more inclusive and accessible for everyone.

Today also marks the deadline for submissions by school boards for the government’s Capital Priorities Program. This program advances standards for accessibility by funding new schools, school additions, major school renovations and the expansion of child care spaces in schools.

“Students are our future, and every Ontario student deserves to learn and develop in an environment that is accessible and inclusive,” said Minister Cho. “Our government is making real changes that will help all students and their families today — and for future generations to come.”

The government has taken some key actions to improve accessibility:

The updated elementary Health and Physical Education curriculum reflects the diversity of Ontario students of all abilities. Throughout the curriculum, teachers are provided with sample prompts and examples to consider when designing and engaging students in physical activities, which will help students of all abilities take part.

The government is providing $1.4 billion in funding for the 2019-20 school year to help school boards provide safe and healthy learning environments for students, such as installing important accessibility features like elevators and ramps.

Families will experience clearer and more transparent processes when requesting service animals accompany their children to school, no matter where they live in Ontario. This support will help all students be successful.

The Education Standards Development Committees have resumed their work to provide feedback and advice to government on how best to address barriers in education.

“We are taking action to ensure every child — especially children with disabilities — have the tools, resources and inclusive facilities to achieve their full potential,” said Minister Lecce.

“Our government is putting students first by making schools in Newmarket-Aurora more inclusive and accessible. Students of all abilities will be better supported with the tools they need to succeed” said Newmarket-Aurora MPP Christine Elliott.

QUICK FACTS

  • These actions are in line with recommendations made by David Onley in his review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act from March 2019.
  • There are 2.6 million people in Ontario with a disability, roughly a quarter of the population, and that number continues to increase.
  • Through the EnAbling Change Program, the government is helping students with disabilities succeed through education campaigns, and the promotion of accessibility tools and resources.

Originally Published in New Market Today

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