On April 14, 2020, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario passed the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support and Protection Act, 2020 to continue to address challenges with respect to COVID-19. The Act amends various acts, including the Education Act, the Planning Act and the Development Charges Act, 1997.
The full text of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support and Protection Act, 2020 can be found here.
Amendments to the Education Act
Two amendments were made to the Education Act.
The first amendment relates to education development charges (EDC). Section 257.58.1 of the Education Act was amended to enable school boards to continue to charge fees on new construction for a period of six (6) months following the pandemic. Since revenues generated from EDC help to contribute to new school projects, this amendment offers some financial relief to school boards.
The second amendment aims to provide a consistent, province-wide approach to addressing suspensions and expulsions of students, where the decision regarding expulsion was not made at the time of school closures. Pursuant to section 311.3 of the Education Act, school boards will now have a maximum of twenty (20) school days after schools reopen to conduct investigations or hold expulsion hearings. As a result, during the period of school closures, school boards are not required to hold expulsions hearings.
In Our View
These amendments reflect the ongoing concerns of school boards during the state of emergency and the closure of schools due to COVID-19. Other changes are likely to be made by the government in the coming weeks. Emond Harnden LLP will keep you apprised of all relevant information and will continue to support you throughout the pandemic.
For additional information or advice on your rights and obligations as a school board facing challenges as a result of COVID-19, please contact Paul Marshall at 613-940-2754, Sophie Gagnier at 613-940-2756, Lynn Harnden at 613-940-2731, Jennifer Birrell at 613-940-2740.