|Ontario Dedicating $60 Million for Renewed Math Strategy|
Province Helping More Students Achieve Excellence in Numeracy
NEWS April 4, 2016
Ontario is dedicating more than $60 million to help support students across the province achieve better results in mathematics.
Math is a critical requirement for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Starting next September, key elements of the renewed strategy will be introduced including:
A minimum of 60 minutes each day of protected learning time for effective mathematics instruction and assessment for students in Grades 1 to 8
Up to three math lead teachers in all elementary schools
Coaching for principals of select secondary schools to lead improvement in math among their students
Support for learning at home through parent resources that provide helpful tips and information on the mathematics curriculum
Better access to online math resources and math supports such as Homework Help or SOS Devoirs
Math support for Grades 6 to 9 outside of the school day
Opportunities for educators to deepen their knowledge in math learning, teaching and leading, including a dedicated math Professional Development Day to further their school improvement efforts.
The renewed math strategy is informed by research and lessons learned from the education sector. It focuses on the needs of students, their families, educators, schools and district school boards and encourages a shared responsibility to support student learning. The strategy also supports Ontario’s renewed vision for education with its focus on achieving excellence in math.
Helping students achieve success in mathematics is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.
“While Ontario’s math results are quite good compared to other jurisdictions, we know that we have more to do. Our renewed math strategy takes the latest research and what we’ve learned from our successful journey to improve literacy, and applies it to improve math outcomes.”
— Liz Sandals, Minister of Education
As part of the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment, Ontario students performed at the Canadian average and above the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average in mathematics, reading and science.
However, from 2009-10 to 2013-14, EQAO Grade 3 mathematics results declined by four percentage points and Grade 6 results declined by seven percentage points.
Since 2014, Ontario has supported more than 6,000 teachers to earn additional qualifications in math.
Ontario Lowers Drug Costs for Over 170,000 More Low-Income Seniors
Province Commits to Consult on Ontario Drug Benefit Improvements
April 4, 2016
Ontario is making changes to the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) Program that will allow more than 170,000 seniors to become newly eligible for the low-income seniors program. As a result, they will save approximately $130 on average per year in out-of-pocket drug costs and almost half-a-million Ontario seniors will pay no deductible and only a co-payment of up to $2 per prescription.
Starting August 1, 2016, the government proposes to increase the income thresholds to qualify for the low-income seniors benefit:
● from less than $16,018 to less than or equal to $19,300 for single seniors, and
● from less than $24,175 to less than or equal to $32,300 for senior couples.
These new thresholds are aligned with the Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income System and will be indexed to ensure they remain aligned in future benefit years. With these changes, Ontario seniors will continue to enjoy the lowest on average out-of-pocket drug costs of any seniors across the provinces in Canada.
In addition to changes to benefit low-income seniors, the 2016 Budget also included proposed changes to drug cost contributions by non-low income seniors. Over the past month, the Province has consulted with Ontarians on these proposed changes and received feedback from seniors and representative organizations. Based on this feedback, the government is pausing the planned increases to drug cost contributions from seniors who are not low-income. Beginning this year the government will continue to consult on the correct income thresholds for an improved Ontario Drug Benefit, with a view to creating a fair, sustainable system that remains among the most generous in Canada.
Making drugs more affordable for low-income seniors is part of the government's plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which provides patients with faster access to the right care; better home and community care; the information they need to live healthy; and a health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.
“Our Budget includes improvements to the Ontario Drug Benefit Program so that over 170,000 more low-income seniors would save on their drug costs. These seniors will save an additional $130 per year as Ontario seniors continue to enjoy the lowest on average out-of-pocket costs of any seniors across the provinces in Canada.”
— Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
“With the number of seniors in Ontario expected to double within the next 25 years, it’s important we acknowledge the needs of an aging population. Today’s changes to the Ontario Drug Benefit Program will make drugs more affordable for many seniors on fixed incomes.”
— Mario Sergio, Minister Responsible for Seniors Affairs
▪ Since 1996, there have been no updates to the income thresholds for the ODB low-income seniors program and the co-payment and deductible for non-low income seniors, even though the cost to the government per senior has increased by nearly 130 per cent .
▪ With the proposed changes, in addition to the over 170,000 seniors who will be newly eligible for the low-income program as of August 1, 2016, approximately 30,000 additional new seniors would become eligible for the low-income seniors program each year.
▪ Seniors whose income continues to stay under the adjusted income threshold each year would continue to qualify for the $0 deductible and $2 co-payment.
▪ At present, there are over 4,300 drugs on the ODB Formulary. More than 1,000 drugs have been added since 2009 and 13 new drugs have been added since the 2016 Budget.
▪ Ontario will also publicly fund the shingles vaccine for seniors aged 65 to 70.
▪ Ontario Drug Benefit Program
Ontario Renovating More Than 300 Long-Term Care Homes
Province Investing in Renovations to Improve Care and Comfort for Residents
NEWS April 4, 2016
Ontario is investing in long-term care homes to improve the quality of care and comfort of residents.
Today, Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Dipika Damerla visited Stouffville’s Bloomington Cove Care Community, where more than 30 resident spaces will be upgraded. This is one of more than 300 long-term care homes that will be upgraded over the next nine years and are eligible to receive a construction funding subsidy.
Through these enhancements, residents will benefit from:
• An environment that is comfortable, aesthetically pleasing and as home-like as possible with renewed interior design.
• Additional space for specialized programs like rehab and physiotherapy.
• More spacious rooms with a maximum of two residents per bedroom.
• Greater wheelchair access in bedrooms, bathrooms, showers and doorways.
• More air-conditioned areas.
• Accessible dining areas that provide a home-like atmosphere.
• More private work spaces for staff.
Long-term care homes are places where adults can live and receive help with daily activities and access to 24-hour nursing and personal care. They provide more nursing and personal care here than a retirement home or supportive housing.
Ontario is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in the province’s history — about $160 billion over 12 years, which is supporting 110,000 jobs every year across the province, with projects such as roads, bridges, transit systems, schools and hospitals. In 2015, the province announced support for more than 325 projects that will keep people and goods moving, connect communities and improve quality of life.
“Long-term care homes are not just facilities – they are peoples’ homes. It is vital that they remain up-to-date to provide residents with secure, safe and comfortable surroundings. The redevelopment of long-term care homes will also help create jobs in the local area.”
— Dipika Damerla, Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
“We are delighted to be able to start planning to upgrade our 31 older long-term care beds, and when completed, it will greatly improve the living space and quality of life for our residents who all live with dementia.”
— Janet Iwaszczenko, Executive Director at Bloomington Cove
“Our seniors deserve the enhanced programs and resources that come with better facilities and this announcement brings us one step closer to this goal. We look forward to continuing to work with the government on improvements to the program so we can modernize as many homes as possible as soon as possible.”
— Candace Chartier, Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Long Term Care Association
“Ontarians want to know that long-term care facilities will provide a safe, home-like environment for themselves or their loved ones. I am proud that our government will be enhancing long-term care facilities in my riding of Oak Ridges-Markham, and across the province.”
— Dr. Helena Jaczek, MPP Oak Ridges-Markham
“This announcement is welcome news for the seniors who rely on long-term care as their ‘home’ when they are no longer able to live independently on their own. With these enhancements, our seniors will benefit from aesthetic improvements in the home, as well as accessibility and program space enhancements.”
— Kim Baker, CEO, Central Local Health Integration Network
Bloomington Cove is a for-profit organization with 112 licensed long-term care beds.
There are about 78,000 residents in Ontario’s 630 long-term care homes.
Since 2003, 10,000 new spaces in long-term care homes have been created and just over 13,500 older long-term care spaces have been renovated.
The number of nurse practitioners in Ontario’s long-term care homes will be increased from 18 to 93 over the next three years.
As part of the 2016 Budget, Ontario is proposing an additional $10 million to the existing $44 million annual investment in Behavioural Supports Ontario for seniors with cognitive impairments who exhibit challenging and complex behaviours.
How to find and apply to a long-term care home
Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care
Patients First: A Roadmap to Strengthen Home and Community Care
Gurvinder Singh 4/4/2016