With less than two weeks to go before schools are set to welcome back students for the fall term, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced more than $2 billion in funding to help provinces and territories re-open their schools and economies safely.
The announcement comes as some provinces are reporting increases in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The funding is meant to allow provinces and territories to work with local school boards to implement measures to protect students and staff from COVID-19. The money can be used to help adapt learning spaces, improve air ventilation, increase hand sanitation and hygiene and buy extra personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies.
Trudeau also announced an extra $112 million for First Nations communities to ensure a safe return to school on reserves.
Most students have been learning from home since the COVID-19 outbreak shut down schools and businesses in mid-March.
Trudeau said returning kids to school safely is critical to restarting the economy, since it would allow parents to return to work without stressing about the health of their children.
“As a former teacher and a parent, I know first-hand the importance of school for kids’ social development and mental well-being, not to mention their ability to learn,” he said in a prepared statement.
The funding is being allocated based on the number of children aged four to 18 years old in each province and territory, with a $2 million base amount for each jurisdiction.
Here’s a breakdown of the allotments:
- Alberta: $262.8 million
- British Columbia: $242.4 million
- Manitoba: $85.4 million
- New Brunswick: $39.8 million
- Newfoundland and Labrador: $26.2 million
- Northwest Territories: $4.9 million
- Nova Scotia: $47.9 million
- Nunavut: $5.8 million
- Ontario: $763.3 million
- Prince Edward Island: $10.4 million
- Quebec: $432.2 million
- Saskatchewan: $74.9 million
- Yukon: $4.2 million
Funding will be provided in two instalments; the first payment is expected this fall and a second is to arrive early in 2021.