QUEEN’S PARK – Data obtained through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from The Trillium paints a disturbing picture of the reality students with disabilities and their families face in Ontario’s education system. This comes after the Ministry of Education explicitly refused to release exclusion data on numerous occasions to provide transparency and accountability for families who have to live in uncertainty due to exclusions.
Data released by The Trillium showed that the highest number of exclusions took place in Greater Essex County District School Board.
MPP for Windsor West Lisa Gretzky has released the following statement in response to these findings:
“This is shocking, but not that surprising. Time and time again when I have asked Minister Lecce about this, specifically, about the Greater Essex County District School Board, he has refused to address the realities faced by families of students with disabilities or committed to real funding solutions to help these families. The biggest driver of exclusions is lack of resources and funding for our classrooms, and we have seen a massive funding shortfall in supporting special education, hiring Educational Assistants, etc. The data paints a clear picture of neglect from this government when it comes to ensuring our classrooms can meet the needs of students and families in Windsor and the Minister must act urgently to ensure the school year is not full of disruptions.”
- MPP Gretzky has questioned Minister Lecce about the funding shortfall for special education and its impact in the Greater Essex County District School Board, which media reports now show have the highest number of days of exclusions. $10.2 million in shortfall was projected, and the board noted it would cost $5.4 million for special education.
- Earlier this year, Ontario NDP education critic Chandra Pasma launched a joint survey with Ontario Autism Coalition to collect data from parents about exclusions after the Ministry refused transparency on exclusion data
- Ministry data shows 7,722 days of exclusion in the 2021-22 school year, half of the students impacted by this were receiving special education services
- Durham District School Board estimates a $3M deficit in special education. Last year the DDSB expected to spend $6.6m beyond what the province provides for special education