The Ford government’s changes to education have been the source of much controversy this year. Doug Ford OSAP changes and education cuts have caused protests, reversals, and endless social media debates. With the new school year underway, we thought we would round up all of the changes that will immediately impact Ontario students.

New Sex-Ed Curriculum


The Ford government released Ontario’s new sex education curriculum on Aug. 21, 2019. The new plan will include instructions on health, consent, sexting, sexual orientation, cyber safety, and gender identity.

The most controversial aspect of the new curriculum appears to be the shift in mandatory learning about LGBT subjects, particularly gender identity, which was moved from Grade 6 to Grade 8. The change is being criticized for underestimating the intelligence and perceptions of children. The new teaching plan also includes an option for parents to have their children opt-out of certain lessons.

Larger Classroom Sizes

Ontario’s Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced back in August that high school class sizes would only be increased to an average of 22.5 students this year. According to The Canadian Press, it had previously been announced that classroom sizes would be rising from 22 to 28 over four years.

OSAP Cuts

Before Ford’s government came into power, the Liberals created a program that offered more affordable tuition to students from families who earn less than $50,000 a year. However, according to CBC, the PC party found the program to be unsustainable and slashed OSAP’s budget by 40 percent.

Ford replaced the old tuition plan with an across-the-board tuition fee cut of 10 percent, which universities and colleges claim could cost them millions in lost revenue.

Several University of Ottawa students made headlines this week after claiming they were taking the year off due to the rising cost of tuition under the new OSAP program. Others stated that they are opting for lighter course loads so they can work a job to fill the financial gaps. 

Fewer Elective Selections

According to The Globe And Mail, Ford’s plan to increase classroom sizes impact the number of elective courses that high school student will be permitted to take. Seniors at a high school in Mississauga recently learned optional courses including, arts, social sciences, and technology were being cut this year in reaction to the government’s plan to increase class sizes.

An estimated 3,475 teaching positions could be phased out across the province over the next four years due to the gradual increase of classroom sizes.

The Cellphone Ban

Ford’s new ban, which was announced in August, prevents students from using their phones in the classroom - however, there are several exceptions to the rule. For example, students will be able to access their mobile devices for health and medical purposes, education purposes (if directed by an educator) and to support special education needs.

Student’s Choice Initiative

According to The Huffington Post, students will be able to save money through the government's Student Choice Initiative. The initiative makes fees for clubs and other services, such as student newspapers and counselling, optional instead of mandatory.

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