The board-by-board impact of larger class sizes and mandatory e-learning

In an earlier blog, we examined the board-by-board impact of Minister Lecce’s bargaining table offer to raise high school class sizes from 22 to 25. While this marks a smaller jump than the currently approved policy, it is still an increase, regardless of the Minister’s insistence that this is an offer to “lower” class sizes.

Under the government’s new approved policy, announced in March, class sizes in Grades 4 to 8 would increase from 23.84 students per teacher to 24.50; class sizes in high school (Grades 9 to 12) would go from 22 students to 28. The plan also includes requiring high school students to earn four (out of 30) credits online instead of in the classroom.

According to Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office (FAO), these changes will result in 10,054 fewer teachers in Ontario’s classrooms by 2023-24. The vast majority of these losses will be in high schools due to the scale of the increase in class size and the four mandatory online credits.  

The FAO model takes into account projected enrollment growth; as the school-age population grows, so does the need for teachers. The model then compares the number of teachers that will be employed under the new plan with the number of classroom teachers that would have been in the education system if the government had not increased class sizes and made online learning mandatory. 

The province created a temporary Job Protection Fund to ease the transition. Some teachers  have already lost their jobs, and many students have already lost their teachers, but the full impact of these changes will be felt in the 2023-2024 school year. 

We built a comparable model to the FAO, using publicly available data, and arrived at a similar estimate for teaching jobs lost province-wide (9,984). Then we calculated job losses board by board. 

The interactive map below shows the impact of these changes on educators in each community, mapped by school system (English public school boards, English Catholic school boards, Conseils scolaires publics, Conseils scolaires catholiques) and broken down by elementary schools and secondary schools. Click to explore the board-by-board staffing numbers, press the home button to refresh the view. 

The more students there are in each board, the more teaching positions eliminated. Our model assumes a uniform 0.8% enrolment growth across school boards and the full implementation of the e-learning policy in 2020-2021.

The model only captures classroom teacher positions funded through the Pupil Foundation Allocation; it does not include other classroom staff and education workers who are funded through other grants. Additional analyses are needed to capture these losses.


Ricardo Tranjan is a senior researcher with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Ontario office. Follow Ricardo on Twitter: @ricardo_tranjan.

8 comments

  1. I taught in Ontario for 33 years.I have a suggestion…have Ford teach in a kindergarten, grade 3, grade 8, grade 10 and grade 12 each a week at a time with the class size being 18.Make the grade 3 a 3/4 split with 2 LD students with IEP’s .THEN ask if his changes are valid! I think he will not complete the task!

  2. As I understand it, college and university grants are going to be based on performance which includes graduates getting a job in their field. If the number of teaching positions are cut the chances for employment are slim and the University grants will be cut. Our newest trained teachers will likely go out of province for positions. What is that saying about, “…for lack of a nail, the shoe was lost. . .”

  3. The wrongheaded narrative that people can do more with less is a disingenuous today as it has been in the past. It is socially destructive. At a time when we keep hearing about a growing number of young people sadly involved in senseless shootings, it amazes me that our premier and the minister of education do not seem to understand the connection between the two, or are being seriously misled by people who do not value humanity and the importance of personal, social, intellectual, and emotional growth.

  4. A baffoon who cares more about beer, gambling, and other vices is making decisions crippling younger generations. Doug Ford is unfit to lead. He is the product of crime and wealth, drugs and he is a scourage of society. Our kids deserve better. Our kids deserve a future.

  5. Dr. C.
    He is not trying to make education better or even save costs. He is trying to degrade the quality of public education and open education up for profit.

  6. I teach grade 11 and 12 math. Students need the one on one help, especially math. There are more students from broken families, single parents that need the support and encouragement by the teacher. Increasing class sizes will decrease one on one help which will increase dropout rates. There will be more students giving up, dropping out of school. Students that give up can end up doing the wrong things (getting into drugs, alcohol, gambling addiction, etc). Cutting teachers will mean hiring more social workers and psychiatrists to deal with psychological issues of drop out students. I don’t see how cutting teachers will help Ontario financially, when dropout rates will increase and less students graduating and entering the work force. Cutting teaching jobs and less students working means less tax money coming into the province to support education and health.
    We see an increase in shootings and violence in Ontario. Most of the young people involved in these shootings were noted for being anti social and isolated. Students need to be in a classroom interacting with each other and the teacher which builds positive social skills and not online taking the courses. I had the opportunity to teach chemistry online and in a classroom. Its great to see students engaging in a real lab classroom setting than doing a virtual lab on line. The students taking chemistry in the classroom were more motivated and happier than the students taking it on line

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