McGuinty government legislation opens school doors to excluded children

Archived Release

McGuinty government legislation opens school doors to excluded children

Ministry of Education

New Law Waives School Fees QUEEN'S PARK, ON, May 19 - With the unanimous passage of new legislation today, the McGuinty government is removing restrictions for 250 children of certain newcomers by eliminating the requirement that they pay fees to attend school, announced Education Minister Gerard Kennedy. "This legislation effectively unlocks school doors to these children, who will no longer be stuck in administrative limbo because of the uncertainty of their parents' immigration status," said Kennedy. "Addressing this niche education need symbolizes our commitment to our publicly funded education system for all children." On May 4, 2005, Kennedy introduced the legislation that will now expand the current list of exemptions in the Education Act to allow children of certain classes of temporary residents in Canada to attend school in Ontario without paying fees. Approximately 250 immigrant children and their families will benefit. New exemptions include: - Children whose parents have applied for permanent residence status to Citizenship and Immigration Canada and plan to stay in the country, - Children whose parents are studying at a publicly funded Ontario university or college. Previously, the act required school boards to charge fees - which can be $7,000 to $10,000 annually per child - for temporary residents. Boards will now be able to claim funding for these students under the Grants for Student Needs. "This legislation is an impressive step forward in ensuring that every child's basic human right to go to school is respected in Ontario," said Albert Koehl, a founding member of the Education Rights Task Force. "We applaud Minister Kennedy for standing up for these vulnerable, often forgotten, children in our community." There have been several cases where children recently arrived in Canada are kept at home for as long as two years because their families do not have proper immigration status and cannot afford to pay fees. Disponible en fran├žais. www.edu.gov.on.ca www.resultsontario.gov.on.caFor further information: Amanda Alvaro, Minister's Office, (416) 325-2632, (416) 509-5696 (cell); Wilma Davis, Communications Branch, (416) 325-6730; Public Inquiries: (416) 325-2929 or 1-800-387-5514, TTY: 1-800-263-2892