Ottawa — A $40-million fund to support Canadian schools to help them cope with “loss” students will be launched later this month, with $4.5 million in support from the federal government.
“This is not a national effort, this is an effort to help those Canadian schools that have lost a large proportion of their students and have lost their ability to continue,” said Education Minister Liz Sandals.
“We’ve seen a significant increase in the number of losses in Canada over the past couple of years, particularly in high school.”
The fund will be administered by the Canadian Federation of Teachers and will be used to help schools “move forward in a time of crisis.”
The federal government is committing $5 million over three years to support the fund, which will include $4 million per year over three to five years to help teachers find new positions, to continue to assist schools with classroom and learning resources, and to support programs and initiatives to ensure Canadian schools are prepared for and equipped to deal with the loss of student populations.
The fund is expected to be launched on Dec. 6.
Sandals said in a statement that she and her government are “extremely proud” of the support they have received from the private sector, “and our commitment to provide it is very much appreciated.”
The money is the second-largest single investment by the federal Liberals in education in recent years.
In the 2016 budget, the federal Liberal government announced a $5-billion fund to expand learning opportunities for Canadian students, which included $2.6 billion in additional funding for teachers and staff.
The Liberals also announced $3.5 billion for the National Centre for Educational Research, a $2-billion investment in higher education, and $2 billion for a National Education Building and Construction Fund.
“Our government’s investments in education, including this one, have helped strengthen the economy and support millions of Canadians who have chosen to pursue higher education,” said Sandals in a press release.
“It’s been a very successful investment for our country, and I’m excited to be able to share the news of the fund with Canadians, including families, students and educators alike.”
The announcement comes just days after the government announced it would make a $4-billion commitment to a national education fund.
The Liberal government is also set to announce a $1-billion public sector innovation fund to build on the $5.5-million investment announced last week.
Sandales noted that the government will continue to support education for the benefit of Canadians.
“Canada is not the only country facing this challenge, but it is the most developed and wealthiest country on the planet,” Sandals wrote.
“While we will continue our efforts to make Canada a more equal society, we will not rest until our schools, workplaces, and communities are ready for the next generation of leaders to lead the way.”
With files from The Canadian Press and The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.