COVID-19

Safe Return to Class Fund

By August 26, 2020 No Comments

We know the past few months have been especially hard on students who have been physically separated from their friends and classmates, and on parents who have had to juggle work and childcare. Returning to school is an important step to restart our economy and get parents back to work, and we want to ensure they can do so without worrying about the health of their children.

That’s why the Safe Return to Class Fund is providing up to $2 billion in support for provinces and territories as they work to ensure the safety of students and staff members throughout the school year.

We are also investing an additional $112 million in funding for First Nations to support community measures to ensure a safe return to school on reserves.

A few examples of how this funding might be used include for adapting learning spaces, better air ventilation in classrooms, or for supplying PPE and cleaning supplies.

Provinces and territories have all been working hard to get students, teachers, and staff safely back to school, and we will continue to support them in that work to keep Canadian children and their families safe.

Quick Facts:

  • Funding will be provided to provinces and territories in two installments, with a first disbursement in Fall 2020 and additional funding available for early 2021, to ensure that provinces and territories have support for the whole school year.
  • The funding by province and territory will be allocated based on the number of children aged between 4 and 18 years old, with a $2 million base amount provided to each jurisdiction.
  • Maximum total allocation by province and territory:
    • Alberta: $262.84 million
    • British Columbia: $242.36 million
    • Manitoba: $85.41 million
    • New Brunswick: $39.79 million
    • Newfoundland and Labrador: $26.18 million
    • Northwest Territories: $4.85 million
    • Nova Scotia: $47.88 million
    • Nunavut: $5.75 million
    • Ontario: $763.34 million
    • Prince Edward Island: $10.39 million
    • Quebec: $432.15 million
    • Saskatchewan: $74.90 million
    • Yukon: $4.16 million

The Safe Return to Class Fund is in addition to the more than $19 billion previously announced for the Safe Restart Agreement to help provinces and territories safely restart their economies. This agreement included funding to increase testing and contact tracing of the virus, support vulnerable Canadians, ensure the availability of safe child care, and provide income support for people who do not have paid sick leave so all Canadians can stay healthy.

PM’s Full Speech:

Bonjour tout le monde.

It’s great to be here today at Yorkwoods Public School with Minister Hussen, and Members of Parliament Kirsty Duncan and Judy Sgro. We’re also joined by Carlene Jackson and Alexander Brown from the TDSB, as well as School Trustee Chris Mammoliti.

And to Principal Verma and Vice-Principal MacDonald – thank you for welcoming us this morning. I know the end of August is always busy as you get ready to welcome kids back. And while every year is different, this September will be unlike any you’ve had to deal with before.

Parents and staff are anxious about what the school year will hold.

As a dad, and a former teacher, I get that.

We all want what’s best for our kids, including a good education. School matters – I got to see that first hand when I was at the front of a classroom. And that’s why, right now, we need to give kids the tools to be safe and successful. Getting them back to school safely really matters.

Just a few minutes ago, I had the chance to sit down with Joanne Luong and Phong Bui. They have 4 kids, and were telling me that they’re worried about sending them back to school.

Like every parent, Joanne and Phong want to make sure their children are safe. But as owners of their own business, it’s also hard to juggle work with the kids at home.

This is something that a lot of parents – and especially mothers – are facing right now.

Our children must be safe in the classroom. That’s non-negotiable.

No parent should be losing sleep because they have to go back to work, but aren’t confident schools are properly prepared.

Ce sont mes collègues, les premiers ministres des provinces, qui ont la responsabilité d’assurer la sécurité de nos enfants en classe et celle des enseignants au travail.

Mais notre gouvernement va être là pour les aider.

Comme je l’ai déjà dit, les provinces et les territoires doivent prendre des décisions en se fondant sur des conseils en matière de santé publique, et non pas à cause des limites budgétaires.

Alors, on est passés de la parole aux actions en accordant du financement fédéral pour les aider.

Notre gouvernement s’est déjà engagé à investir une somme historique de 19 milliards de dollars dans l’Accord sur la relance sécuritaire avec les provinces et les territoires. On l’a fait pour apporter aux Canadiens le soutien dont ils ont besoin.

On a toujours promis d’être là pour les Canadiens, et c’est exactement ce qu’on a fait. Mais il reste bien sûr encore du travail à faire. Aujourd’hui, on fait donc un autre pas en avant.

Yesterday, I spoke with the Premiers about the upcoming school year. They’re working hard to protect our kids. But this year is challenging, and like no other.

That’s why today, I can announce that the federal government is investing up to $2 billion in school safety for the coming year.

This money, which will flow through the new Safe Return to Class Fund, will help keep students and teachers safe as schools reopen.

Our children must always be our top priority – as parents and as governments. Once people know their kids are safe, they can get back to work with fewer worries.

Education is, of course, a provincial jurisdiction, and I told the Premiers yesterday that we absolutely respect that.

What we’re announcing today is designed to support provinces and territories in the best way possible. Our government is here to help.

We’ve made this funding flexible, so provinces, and ultimately schools, can use it for what they need most, from hand sanitizer to remote learning.

On top of this new funding, we’re also investing $112 million in schools in First Nations communities. This money will help those communities safely open their schools with proper supports for students, parents, and educators.

I want to thank everyone who has helped bring this new Safe Return to Class Fund together.

Over the past week, I have heard clearly from Liberal MPs across the country, as well as directly from concerned parents, asking us to see just what the federal government can do to keep our kids safe.

So, in his very first days as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Minister LeBlanc and I talked about this, and he reached out to folks across the country.

Again, I want to thank our members of caucus – including and especially Kirsty and Judy who are here with us today – who have been a driving force to get more help to parents and kids.

When I sat down with Dr. Tam yesterday, back to school was one of a number of things we talked about to prepare for the fall.

School safety is top of mind for us all right now.

No matter where they live, students must be safe in their classrooms. Teachers and staff must be safe on the job. And parents must be confident that they can get back to work.

Aujourd’hui, je peux annoncer que notre gouvernement investit jusqu’à 2 milliards de dollars dans le nouveau Fonds pour une rentrée scolaire sécuritaire. On le fait pour garder nos jeunes et leurs enseignants en toute sécurité pour la prochaine année.

Ce soutien est flexible alors les provinces, et ultimement les écoles, pourront s’en servir pour répondre à leurs besoins, que ce soit pour du désinfectant pour les mains ou encore pour l’apprentissage à distance.

Au cours des prochaines semaines, on va travailler main dans la main avec les provinces et les territoires pour que les fonds se rendent le plus vite possible.

On investit aussi 112 millions de dollars dans les écoles des Premières Nations. Cet argent va les aider à rouvrir leurs écoles de manière sécuritaire et à offrir le soutien nécessaire aux élèves, aux parents et aux enseignants.

Je tiens à remercier tous ceux qui ont aidé à mettre sur pied le Fonds pour une rentrée scolaire sécuritaire.

Au cours de la dernière semaine, j’ai entendu clairement des députés libéraux de partout au pays, mais aussi directement de parents inquiets, qui nous demandaient ce qu’on pouvait faire pour garder nos enfants en sécurité. Lors de ses toutes premières journées en tant que ministre des Affaires intergouvernementales, Dominic et moi en avons parlé.

Quand j’ai rencontré la Dre Tam, hier, notre conversation a porté en grand partie sur la rentrée scolaire étant donné qu’on se prépare à l’automne qui s’en vient.

Ensemble, on a trouvé des solutions créatives pour que le gouvernement du Canada puisse aider nos familles et s’assurer que nos enfants soient en sécurité.

At our First Ministers’ Meeting yesterday afternoon, the Premiers and I discussed the measures we’re taking to keep Canadians safe in the weeks and months to come.

That includes today’s federal support for schools, and progress on everything from personal protective equipment, to help for the most vulnerable. Fighting COVID-19 is a Team Canada effort, and we’re all committed to continuing this work together into the fall.

Je remercie les premiers ministres de leur collaboration dans plusieurs projets importants au cours des derniers mois. Comme vous le savez, la lutte contre la COVID-19 a toujours été un effort qui demande un travail concerté d’un bout à l’autre du pays.

Dans les jours et les semaines à venir, je sais qu’on sera prêts à continuer d’avancer ensemble.

Merci.