Human Resources Legislative Update
Ontario Amends Rules for Shutdown Zone Regarding School Closures and Limited Circumstances in Which They May Operate
Date: April 15, 2021
The Ontario government has amended the Rules for Areas in Stage 1 to give effect to its recent announcement regarding the closure of public and private elementary and secondary schools, among other things.
As a general rule, Ontario Regulation 278/21 amends the Shutdown Zone rules to require closure of all public and private schools within the meaning of the Education Act (this restriction does not apply to certain First Nations schools).
There are limited exceptions to this general rule. Schools may open:
- to the extent necessary to facilitate the operation of a childcare centre within the meaning of the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014
- where approved by the Minister of Education, to facilitate the operation of an extended day program, as defined in the Education Act, for the provision of emergency childcare for the children of the prescribed individuals eligible for emergency childcare
- to allow staff of the school or private school to provide remote teaching, instruction or support to pupils, as long as directives and public health guidelines are followed, or
- to provide in-person instruction to pupils with special education needs who cannot be accommodated through remote learning and who wish to attend a school or private school for in-person instruction, as long as directives and public health guidelines are followed.
O. Reg. 278/21 also expands the list of those individuals eligible for emergency childcare.
These changes come into effect on April 15, 2021.
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