• News
  • April 20, 2017

Ontario Reducing Class Sizes, Boosting Special Education

New Labour Agreements Ensure Stability for Thunder Bay Students and Families

Ontario is boosting its support for Thunder Bay area students and families by reducing class sizes, providing new support for students with special education needs, and ensuring labour stability for at least two more years. The province has reached negotiated agreements with all teachers and education workers in Ontario. The agreements have now been ratified and provide an additional two years of stability for students and parents. Local Thunder Bay area students will benefit from the province’s investment in smaller class sizes for students in full-day kindergarten (FDK) and Grades 4-8. FDK classes, which are supported by a teacher and an early childhood educator, will now be capped at 30 students next school year, falling to 29 students in 2018-19, and average no more than 26 students per class within each school board. Support will also be provided to ensure that for students in Grades 4-8, all school boards have average class sizes of 24.5 or fewer students. Additionally, local school boards will receive funds to hire 8 more teachers and 19 more education workers to support students with special education needs and other students at risk. Reducing class sizes, boosting support for students, and bringing stability to the education system is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives. 


“Students and families in Thunder Bay will continue to benefit from Ontario’s strong investment in education. Thanks in part to extended agreements with teachers and education workers, the government is investing in smaller class sizes, additional special education staff and local priorities. Funding has steadily increased and next year, across the province, per-student funding is projected to reach $12,100, while the Thunder Bay average is expected to increase to $13,661, up from approximately $7,600 in 2003.”

— Bill Mauro, MPP Thunder Bay-Atikokan

 “Through the agreements reached with our partners, Ontario’s students and families will experience smaller class sizes, more staff in special education and a focus on local community needs. I am proud of our continued progress to provide students with a world-class, publicly funded education system.”

— Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education 


  • Per-student funding is projected to increase by $432 compared to 2016-17.
  • There will also be an increase in funding for community use of schools, enabling school boards to reduce rental rates for space used by the community after classroom hours.
  • Additional accountability measures are being added to ensure about $25 million is used to support programs to improve Indigenous student achievement and well-being. 



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