The Ontario Liberals are promising to cap class sizes at 20 students for every grade across the province, if elected.
Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca says it would ensure every student gets the focus and attention they deserve.
The Liberals say to achieve the hard cap they would hire 10,000 teachers, recruiting some from other provinces and helping qualified teachers immigrate to Ontario. The party says they would also work to attract some of the 80,000 Ontario-certified teachers they say are not currently employed by schools back to teaching.
At a morning news conference, Del Duca declined to commit to a specific timeline for achieving lower class sizes, but said the promise would have “the full weight of the premier and the premier’s office” behind it.
“With respect to teachers, 10,000 is a big number. But it is the right number,” Del Duca said.
“We recognize it will take a little bit of time,” Del Duca continued, adding that the goal would be explicitly included in a mandate letter to a Liberal minister of education.
He said that a Liberal government would begin by prioritizing schools that have the largest class sizes already and those schools in neighbourhoods that were particularly hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Del Duca also stressed that the Liberal proposal is for a hard cap for every single classroom, not a provincewide average of 20 students which results in some classes having significantly more students.
As well, the Liberals are promising to end a mandatory graduation requirement for two online credits introduced by the Progressive Conservative government.
The NDP has promised to introduce a cap of 24 students for Grades 4 through 8 and hire 20,000 teachers and education workers if elected in June.
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