Dear parents,

Over the past weeks, our government announced Ontario’s plan to restrict cellphones during instructional time, remove social media from all school networks and devices, and enforce bans on vaping and cannabis on school property. We also introduced legislation to strengthen safeguards that protect your child’s privacy and keep their data secure.

We know the work continues to ensure students are focused in class, graduating with a strong command of reading, writing and math, and increasingly needed life and job skills.

Yet, the global economy has radically changed around us since the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) was last overhauled in 1999 and our government is determined to ensure our students are equipped to handle these changes.

That is why we are taking another step in our back-to-basics plan in Ontario by introducing several new policies, including:

Ontario’s first financial literacy graduation requirement to help students learn practical financial literacy skills and apply them in life. These include being able to demonstrate understanding of how to create and manage a personal budget, save for a home or other asset, understand interest rate impacts on consumers and know how to protect themselves from financial fraud. Students will now have to demonstrate understanding of financial literacy concepts as a graduation requirement as part of their Grade 10 math course.

Reintroducing modernized “home economics” education that elevates life skills that many young people desperately need, from healthy cooking to first aid to responsible consumer habits.
Higher math standards for educators by requiring new educators to pass a math proficiency test that will ensure they have the necessary knowledge and understanding of the subject for the benefit of students.

Introducing career coaches through an up to $14 million investment as part of a major overhaul of guidance education, complementing the work of guidance teacher-counsellors and the existing Career Studies course. The investment in new career coaches will allow students in Grades 9 and 10 to meet with experts in STEM and the skilled trades in small group settings to discuss the benefits of these potential careers.

These reforms, along with the new cellphone and vaping policy will help restore academic focus, safety and personal responsibility in Ontario schools.

But we can’t do this alone. We hope we can count on your support at home over the coming months to ensure students understand the new expectations in September.

With thanks,

Stephen Lecce Signature
Stephen Lecce
Minister of Education