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Google Translate Frequently Asked Questions

Renewal Needs Backlog

The Toronto District School Board’s Renewal Needs Backlog (RNB) list identifies approximately 23,400 different repairs needed in our schools. The total value of those repairs was $3.5 billion as of October 2019.

It is important to understand that these repairs do not represent a health or safety concern. Safety is a top priority for us at the TDSB and our maintenance plans are always focused on providing safe places for our students and staff. In order to do that, we fix the most critical problems related to health and safety first. Also, while components in a school building may be past their life expectancy (e.g. water boiler), they are in good condition and meet all required safety codes.

Seventy percent of the building components in the current RNB are in critical or poor condition. Our limited funding does not allow us to replace all of these components as we use a big portion of the funding to temporarily repair them in order to extend their useful service life for another year or two. This does not mean that the repaired building component is removed from the backlog; it means that its replacement will be postponed.

The Ministry of Education’s consultant, who assesses the condition of TDSB schools, takes this into consideration when updates their database and postpones the replacement action for another year or two. Although this makes the RNB for the current year drop, it doesn’t impact the projected long-term backlog which could hit $5.2 billion by 2023.

Key Facts

  • If additional funding provided by the Ministry over the last five years is discontinued and/or reduced, and no additional funding is provided, we estimate that our renewal repairs backlog (RNB) would be as follow:

       January 2020: $4.3 billion
       January 2021: $4.6 billion
       January 2022: $4.9 billion
       January 2023: $5.2 billion

  • The Board needs predictable and sustainable funding for school repairs to allow the TDSB to continue implementing its long-term plan for renewal and lower the renewal needs backlog.
  • Lack of sufficient funding has a direct impact on schools operation.
  • Approximately seventy percent of the repairs we make over the year are considered “urgent” or “high priority”.
  • There are other potential sources of revenue to help with the backlog. One is Education Development Charges (EDCs). However, unlike most Ontario school boards, the TDSB does not qualify for Educational Development Charges (EDCs) because there is surplus space across the system, which puts the TDSB at a disadvantage. 
  • Without the restrictions found in Section 10 of Ontario Reg. 20/98, the TDSB would qualify for EDCs and generate revenue of approximately $400 million over the next 15 years.
  • On May 2, 2019, the Ontario government introduced Bill 108 “More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019”, which includes amendments to the Education Development Charges (EDC) section of the Education Act. However, the proposed changes, if passed, won’t benefit the TDSB as it does not qualify for EDCs.

Learn more about Facility Condition Index (FCI) ratings and Education Development Charges (EDC). 

How to View the Data

To find the RNB list for a particular school, please visit the Find Your School page and choose the name of the school. On each individual school web page you will see a ”Renewal Needs and FCI” link in the navigation menu on the left side of the page. The data corresponds to 2019.

Sample Report

Heating Boilers - Boiler #1 Renewal


Exterior Windows - Original Building Renewal


Fittings - Washroom Partitions Renewal


Wall Finishes - Paint Renewal



Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why does the Renewal Needs Backlog keep increasing?

The Ministry of Education hires external consultants to inspect each school once every five years. That means that 20 percent of our schools are inspected every year. As part of this assessment, components that need to be repaired or replaced are identified.

Approximately 50 percent of our schools are over 60 years old and building components continue to age requiring major repairs or replacement. 

Years of underfunding for school boards school repairs, especially from the 1990s to the mid-2000s, saw the renewal backlog rise rapidly at the TDSB. In the last five years, we have seen a considerable increase in the annual provincial allocation to the TDSB, an average of $290 million per year. However, this increase hasn’t kept pace with the rapidly aging school facilities in need of major repairs or replacements. Approximately seventy percent of the building components in the RNB are in critical or poor condition,


School Year Provincial Grant Projected Backlog
2019-2020 $292 million $4.3 billion (as of January 2020)
2018-2019 $299 million $3.9 billion (as of January 2019)
2017-2018 $297 million $4.0 billion (as of January 2018)
2016-2017 $308 million $3.4 billion (as of September 2016)
2015-2016 $276 million $3.1 billion (as of September 2015)
2014-2015 $74.8 million $2.9 billion (as of September 2014)

Note: The funding we receive is based on a school year (Sept. 1 to Aug. 31).

2. How do you calculate the Renewal Needs Backlog?

At the beginning of the year, as requested by the Ministry of Education, we calculate the backlog for that calendar year.

As of January 1, 2019, the Renewal Needs Backlog (RNB) was $3.9 billion. This amount represents the RNB as of that month, plus the amount needed to repair building components over the year, resulting in a higher backlog.

For example, as of December 31, 2018, the backlog was $3.45 billion, but if we add the $450 million needed for repairs in 2019, this amount increases to $3.9 billion. However, if we check the RNB in October for example, we would get a different value. The reason for that is that the RNB usually decreases as we complete projects and update our database over the year, and increases in January, when we calculate the RNB for that calendar year. See example below:

January 2019 $3.9 billion
October 2019 $3.5 billion
January 2020 $4.3 billion (projected backlog)  

The RNB was lower in October because a number of projects were completed, and the replacement of some building components budgeted for 2019 was postponed until a later time. The reason for that is that the Board repaired these building components, extending their life cycle by 1-2 years. Therefore, during the school assessment (see question #4), the Ministry of Education’s consultant removed their replacement cost from the current year’s backlog and added it to next year’s backlog. It is important to note that although the current backlog (as of October 2019) appears to be lower, the long-term values remain the same.

If additional funding provided by the Ministry over the last five years is discontinued and/or reduced, and no additional funding is provided, we estimate that our renewal repairs backlog (RNB) will hit $5.2 billion by 2023.

3. When do you update the Renewal Needs Backlog?

We have traditionally updated the backlog in September of every year; however, in January 2018, the Ministry of Education requested boards to move to a calendar year. As a result, the TDSB now updates its RNB in January of every year instead of September.

The RNB value is dynamic and usually decreases over the year. See question #2 for example.

4.What are the 23,400 different repairs identified in the RNB list?

Every five years, an independent consultant hired by the Ministry of Education assesses the condition of each school based on a standard list of major building components. This list includes components such as roofing, heating systems, floor finishes, fencing, windows, parking lots, ceiling finishes, foundations, windows and building automation systems. In addition, the TDSB compiles a RNB list for each of its schools. To find the list for your school, please visit: Find Your School.

5. Does the provincial funding for the 2018-2019 school year include money for air conditioning?

The provincial funding for the current school year includes $25 million for the replacement of new energy efficient building components such as LED lights, high efficiency heating systems, energy efficient doors and skylights. It also includes $274 for the replacement/repair of building components identified during the Ministry’s inspections such as foundations, roofs and windows. The funding does not include an amount for additional air conditioning units.

6.Besides provincial funding, which other sources the TDSB has available for repairs?

TDSB’s main source of funding is from the provincial government. In addition, when the Board sells a parcel of land or building, it can use that money to address the renewal backlog. There are other potential sources of revenue to help with the backlog. One is Education Development Charges (EDCs). However, unlike most Ontario school boards, the TDSB does not qualify for Educational Development Charges (EDCs) because there is surplus space across the system, which puts the TDSB at a disadvantage.

The TDSB keeps advocating for the Ontario Government to amend the Education Development Charges (EDCs) regulation (20/98) to allow the TDSB to collect EDCs to help support urgent infrastructure needs and reduce overcrowding in high-growth areas of the city. Revenues from EDCs could generate approximately $400 million over the next 15 years, helping reduce both the FCI and RNB.

Learn more about the Facility Condition Index (FCI) and Education Development Charges (EDCs).

Our Mission
To enable all students to reach high levels of achievement and well-being
and to acquire the knowledge, skills
and values they need to become responsible, contributing members of
a democratic and sustainable society.
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