Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }
Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you manage your health, your finances and your family life as Canada reopens.
Visit the hub

A sign with guidelines on physical distancing is seen at Ancaster High School, on Sept. 1, 2020.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Ontario’s Ombudsman must review the government’s back-to-school plan to ensure it’s living up to vital safety standards, the province’s Official Opposition said in a formal request for the watchdog to investigate the reopening strategy.

The New Democrats’ education critic, Marit Stiles, wrote in the letter released Wednesday that she wants the Ombudsman to determine if measures are in place to meet standards recommended by experts.

Ms. Stiles notes in the letter to Paul Dubé that the Ombudsman’s purview includes school boards, and argues an urgent investigation is required to address the “confusion or anxiety” felt by many.

Story continues below advertisement

“[Parents] need positive reassurance that every possible step necessary for a safe, healthy reopening of schools will happen,” Ms. Stiles wrote. “Teachers need security that their own health, not to mention that of their students, will not be put at undue risk by going back to physical classrooms.”

Mr. Dubé’s office could not immediately provide comment on the NDP’s request.

With just days to go before classes start, the Ford government has faced increasing pressure over its COVID-19 pandemic back-to-school plan.

School boards, teachers’ unions and some parents have called on the government to mandate smaller class sizes to ensure physical distancing is possible in the classroom, and provide funding to make it happen.

The province’s strategy will see students in kindergarten through Grade 8 return to school without any reduction in class sizes, although students will spend the day in a single cohort to limit contact with other children.

Many high schoolers will also be in class full-time, though secondary students at 24 boards across the province will do half of their classes online in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Premier Doug Ford has defended his plan repeatedly in recent weeks, calling it the best in the country, and something that was created in consultation with experts.

Story continues below advertisement

Asked for his reaction to the NDP request on Wednesday, Mr. Ford instead praised the work of principals in the school system and attacked the province’s teachers’ unions.

“Why don’t they pitch in,” he said of the unions. “Why don’t they be positive instead of painting a picture of apocalypse. The world’s coming to an end. Why don’t they jump in there like the great principals that I’ve talked to [have].”

Mr. Ford also stressed that his government is ready for the return to school beginning next week. “It’s all hands on deck,” he said. “We have this one. We’re ready.”

Earlier this week, Ontario’s four major teachers’ unions appealed to the province’s labour board about Mr. Ford’s back-to-school plan. They alleged it violates provincial workplace laws and want a series of changes made to lower class size and address concerns about school ventilation.

The unions have also said the government has not consulted them on the development of their school reopening strategy.

Meanwhile, Ontario reported 133 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths from the coronavirus Wednesday. There were also 137 cases newly marked as resolved.

Story continues below advertisement

The total number of cases now stands at 42,554, which includes 2,812 deaths and 38,506 cases marked as resolved.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said 29 of the province’s 34 public-health units are reporting five or fewer new cases, and 21 are reporting none.

The province was able to complete 24,004 tests over the previous day.

Premier Doug Ford urged the province's major teachers' unions to work with the government on its school reopening plan. The unions said today they will fill complaints with Ontario's labour board, alleging the plan violates the province's workplace safety laws. The Canadian Press

Sign up for the Coronavirus Update newsletter to read the day’s essential coronavirus news, features and explainers written by Globe reporters and editors.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies