Local school boards receive $13 million for infrastructure upgrades

TORONTO – Local schools will receive about $13 million in federal/provincial funding to upgrade infrastructure and protect against COVID-19.

The Upper Grand District School Board will receive $10,969,000 and the Wellington Catholic District School Board will receive $1,999,490 through the COVID-19 Reliance Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP).

The funding will support building retrofits, updates and upgrades to their schools and co-located child care facilities.

Projects can include HVAC renovations, installing water bottle refilling stations and space reconfigurations such as new walls and doors to enhance physical distancing.

The funding builds on more than $1 billion the Ontario government has spent since 2019 on new schools and child care spaces, states an April 15 press release from Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece.

Supported by provincial funding, 95 percent of Ontario schools have reported upgrades or enhancements to their air filtration systems, with over 40,000 HEPA filters and other ventilation devices in classrooms, the release points out.

The federal government is investing up to $525.2 million towards these projects through the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The Government of Ontario is contributing $131.3 million to the projects.

“In times like these, we need to do everything possible to keep schools safe, healthy, and open for students,” stated Pettapiece.

“Families are counting on it, and these investments will go a long way to make that happen. I am very pleased that we in Perth-Wellington will benefit.”

Perth-Wellington MP John Nater stated he is pleased with the funding announcement, “both as MP and as a father with children in our local schools.”

Nater added, “We all want to see our children back in class as soon as possible.”

Minister of Education Stephen Lecce stated, “Ontario’s government is focused on protecting the lives of students, staff, and their families.

“We put a plan into action that leads the nation – delivering air ventilation improvements to over 95% of schools, 7,000 additional staff, and improved cleaning, testing, and stronger screening.”