Schools in Ontario

There are about 4,500 elementary and secondary schools operating across the province, including approximately:

  • 3,660 elementary schools (kindergarten to Grade 8)
  • 600 secondary schools (Grades 9 to 12)
  • 300 elementary and secondary combined schools (for example, kindergarten to Grade 12 or Grades 7 to 12)
  • 2 million students
  • 26 million square metres of permanent school space

Over the next 10 years, we are investing about $16 billion to support school construction, repair and renewal.

Programs to build and improve schools

Major capital construction programs

We’ve introduced new measures to help build modern schools faster to meet the needs of our growing population. These measures aim to:

  • reduce construction timelines by up to 50%
  • prioritize shovel-ready projects
  • strengthen accountability
  • standardize designs of new schools to get schools built faster
  • support greater collaboration between school boards and municipalities to ensure community planning includes schools
  • reduce red tape

Since 2018, we have funded $3.6 billion for major capital projects, including:

  • 139 new schools (91 with child care)
  • 109 permanent additions or renovations to existing school buildings (52 with child care)
  • over 8,000 new licensed child care spaces in schools

Each year, we invite school boards to send us funding requests for their highest priority capital needs. This is called the Capital Priorities Program. Through it, we invest in:

  • new or expanded schools to address the needs of growing communities
  • replacement of schools that do not meet current standards
  • addressing the needs of French-language rights holders
  • creating new child care spaces in schools

Programs to maintain schools

We are committed to supporting healthy and safe learning environments that accommodate student needs.

For the 2023–24 school year, we continue to provide $1.4 billion to school boards for school renewals. School boards can use this funding for projects such as:

  • HVAC improvements
  • roof and window replacements
  • accessibility enhancements
  • classroom modernization

School boards are responsible for keeping their school sites in good condition.

Other capital programs

In addition to building, expanding and renewing schools, we also provide other capital funding supports, including the:

  • Land Priorities Grant program — provides funding to school boards that need land to support future capital projects and meet the eligible criteria on a case-by-case basis. This program supports site purchases for new schools, expansion of existing sites and other site improvements.
  • Temporary accommodation allocation — provides annual funding to school boards for portable purchases, leases and moves. This funding also covers lease costs for instructional spaces.

Ensuring best use of school property

The Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act, 2023, introduced changes to support:

  • building modern schools faster
  • improved use of current school space
  • more accountability and transparency for capital projects

As of December 31, 2023, school boards must follow Ontario Regulation 374/23 Acquisition and Disposition of Real Property.

The regulation provides a standardized and streamlined process for:

  • identifying and disposing of surplus school board property
  • building on a site where a school is part of a larger building with multiple users, such as a school within a mixed-use condominium project

Learn about rules school boards must follow when selling or leasing surplus school property.

In addition, the Minister of Education can now direct school boards to operate schools in joint-use facilities.

These changes will support school boards in using their buildings and property more effectively and efficiently to meet the needs of fast-growing communities.