Province Implements Chamber Recommendations on School Closures

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Kitchener, ON – The Ontario Ministry of Education has implemented a major recommendation from the provincial and local business sectors in relation to rural and northern education.

Yesterday, Minister of Education Mitzie Hunter announced a province-wide moratorium on school closures pending an assessment of the current accommodation review process for boards of education considering the future of institutions under their jurisdiction.

At the 2017 Annual General Meeting of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce held May 4-7 in Sarnia, a resolution was passed which proposed a moratorium on school closures until the provincial government requires boards of education to conduct an economic analysis on pending accommodation decisions. The resolution was submitted by the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce and co-sponsored by the North Bay and District, Owen Sound and District, and Tillsonburg District Chambers of Commerce.

The business community anticipates that the Ministry of Education, as part of their evaluation of the accommodation review process, will consider the economic and social impacts of school closures as a priority and subsequently follow the Ontario Chamber of Commerce recommendation for a complete analysis of future board of education decisions.

“The business sector across Ontario recognizes that access to public education is critical for attracting and retaining investment, securing long-term employees, and sustained economic activity to generate revenues for public services,” noted Art Sinclair, Vice President of the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce. “Significant opportunities across the resource industries in rural and northern Ontario could be lost if the public infrastructure, including education, is not present for support.”

An economic analysis prior to a board of education debate on closures will allow trustees to evaluate the impact of their decisions on potential employment, local business, and lost revenue for the municipal sector.

For further information contact:

Art Sinclair

Vice President, Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce

(519) 749-6040