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Declining Enrolment In Ontario

Archived Backgrounder

Declining Enrolment In Ontario

Ministry of Education

Most provinces in Canada are experiencing a decline in the number of school-aged children. Many school boards in Ontario have been facing the impact of changing demographics, and the McGuinty government has introduced a variety of measures to help boards provide high quality education programs.

Declining Enrolment Working Group Report Recommendations

Based on the recommendations in the report, the province is encouraging boards to:

  • discuss the challenges and opportunities of enrolment decline with the local community
  • advertise available school space so community partners or other local boards can share a location
  • further explore partnerships with members of the community and other local boards to build new multi-purpose facilities
  • co-ordinate transportation and other business services with other local boards.

The government will continue to review the report to identify other recommendations that could be implemented in the future.

Declining Enrolment Working Group

A working group was established to advise the government and school boards on how effective these efforts are and how best to deal with declining enrolment. The group began its work in May 2008 and consulted broadly with the education sector. The group solicited written submissions from key stakeholders, held follow-up roundtable discussions and established a webpage for public input. The group also received ongoing advice from a Trustee Advisory Group consisting of members of Ontario's four school board trustee associations.

As part of their mandate, the working group was asked to:

  • Examine how impacts of declining enrolment vary across school boards and schools of different size, geography and language of instruction
  • Recommend strategies to improve the alignment of school board cost structures with reduced enrolment
  • Recommend strategies and best practices that will help boards and schools deliver effective education programs while adjusting to lower enrolment
  • Respect the constitutional and statutory framework for education in Ontario, which includes English-language public, English-language Catholic, French-language public and French-language Catholic school boards.

Led by two co-chairs, the Declining Enrolment Working Group included the following members:

Eleanor Newman, Co-Chair
(Former) Director of Education, Renfrew County District School Board

Dave Levac, Co-Chair
MPP Brant and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services

Gerri Gershon
Trustee, Toronto District School Board and former President, Ontario Public School Boards' Association and the Canadian School Boards Association

Brian Greene
Senior Business Official, Thames Valley District School Board

Kathy O'Brien
Trustee, Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board

Michel Paulin
Senior Business Official, Conseil scolaire de district catholique Franco-Nord

Barry Peterson
Senior Business Official, District School Board Ontario North East

Doug Reycraft
(Past) President, Association of Municipalities of Ontario, Councillor, County of Middlesex, Mayor, Southwest Middlesex

Michael Schmitt
Director of Education, Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board

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