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Toronto District School Board

TDSB Trustees Appeal to Provincial Government to Address Underfunding

Categories: News Releases

Trustees to Hold Budget Town Hall Meetings


Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Chair, Rachel Chernos Lin, was joined by fellow Trustees today in calling on the Ministry of Education to address significant funding challenges being experienced by Canada’s largest school board.

Over recent years, the TDSB has approved a number of operational cuts to programs and services to reduce its deficit. However, these adjustments have not been sufficient to eliminate the deficit in its entirety (as outlined in a recent letter to the Minister of Education). Despite these reductions and operational efficiencies, the Board continues to grapple with a significant structural deficit created, in part, by the following factors:


Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI): The statutory benefits (CPP and EI) rates have increased over the last six years without a corresponding increase in funding. CPP has been gradually increasing from 4.95% in 2019 to 5.95% in 2023. In 2024, a second additional contribution rate was added. Similarly, EI has also been increasing over this time. Taken together, the total underfunding for these two statutory benefits in 2024-2025 will be $35.2 million. This funding shortfall amounts to more than the TDSB’s current deficit.


Salary Gapping: There remains a significant gap in funding for teacher salaries. In 2014, the province began Central Bargaining with teacher unions and came up with a central teacher grid to fund salaries. The funding that the Province provides to the TDSB in grants to pay for teachers is based on this grid. At the time this was negotiated by the Province, the TDSB grid was higher than the central grid. The difference between what TDSB teachers make and what the Ministry funds continues to increase annually. In 2023-2024, the unfunded amount was $22.3 million. This funding shortfall is just slightly less than the TDSB’s current deficit.


Moratorium: The provincial moratorium on school closures, in place since 2017, takes away the TDSB’s ability to consolidate underutilized schools to reduce operating costs. The Ministry eliminated the “top up” grant that recognized the costs that are incurred by operating underutilized schools and yet prevents school boards from being able to fix this issue and provide students with the breadth of programming that they deserve. The “top-up” grant for the TDSB was approximately $35 million in 2014-15. If this grant were reinstated, the TDSB would not have a deficit. If the moratorium were lifted, or the TDSB were allowed exemptions on a case-by-case basis, as mentioned in our letter dated April 15, 2024, the TDSB would be in a different financial position and be able to proceed with modernizing schools for 21st-century learning through consolidation.


COVID-19 Expenditures: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the TDSB incurred substantial expenses to ensure the safety of students and staff. The Government of Ontario and Toronto Public Health provided safety directions that were critical to maintaining the confidence of everyone we served during the health emergency. In following these directions, the TDSB incurred approximately $70.1 million in pandemic-related costs not covered by the Ministry of Education. If the TDSB had been reimbursed for these emergency costs, the TDSB would at least have reserves to support the current deficit.


To gain feedback from their communities, Trustees are also launching three Budget Town Hall Meetings (east, west, central) beginning next week. Additional details will be shared with the TDSB community shortly.


Quick Facts

  • The TDSB currently faces a projected $26.5 million deficit for 2024–25.
  • The Ministry has provided the TDSB with approximately $130 million in additional funding since 2019, with most of the funding accounting for salary increases. The increase in per-pupil funding is approximately 8.5%. However, once inflation is accounted for (over the same period was 13.8%), there has in fact been a reduction in per-pupil funding.
  • Since 2019, the TDSB has approved $64.7 million in reductions. This does not include $17 million in reductions committed to in the 2024–2025 budget.

“The TDSB requires a ‘New Deal’ that acknowledges the unique challenges of Canada’s largest school board. The Ministry of Education must fund our school board to cover the true operating costs in the City of Toronto and the unique populations we serve. We cannot continue to operate under outdated funding models that fail to address our students’ current and future needs adequately.”
- Rachel Chernos Lin, Chair, Toronto District School Board