Nate Erskine-Smith brings forward plan for world-class public education

Erskine-Smith’s plan will restore labour stability and make critical investments in mental health, aging classrooms and a universal healthy school food program

TORONTO, ON (20 September 2023) – Today, Liberal leadership candidate Nate Eskine-Smith unveiled an ambitious plan to deliver world-class public education across Ontario.

“Ontario Liberals win when we lead boldly on education. Our kids deserve high-quality public education, our educators deserve respect, and the Ford government doesn’t seem to care,” said Erskine-Smith. “My parents were both teachers, and I was on the picket line with them as a kid in the Harris years. We deserve better. Our plan will restore world-class public education in Ontario to set our kids up for success, and ensure that cost is never a barrier to post-secondary opportunities.”

Ford is underfunding our education system. Our plan makes smart investments in our future, delivering high quality K-12 and post-secondary education:

  • Improve students’ in-class support by eliminating waitlists for special education, capping class sizes and hiring more educators, and strengthening the curriculum in collaboration with educators.
  • Support students’ out-of-class experience by expanding funding for extracurriculars, broadening access to mental health supports, and implementing a universal healthy school food program based on the work of the Coalition for Healthy School Food.
  • Deliver the best facilities for our kids by funding necessary repairs and upgrades, ensuring access to high-quality internet, proper air conditioning and filtration, expanding green retrofits, and keeping schools accessible to rural and northern communities.
  • Ensure equity and inclusion by creating space for everyone to be who they are, supporting reconciliation, strengthening French education, and improving school safety.
  • Respect for our educators by committing to fair bargaining, encouraging teacher-led professional development, delivering employment dignity for support staff, and more.

“My two boys are in the public school system, my wife and I come from families of teachers, and I believe that high-quality public education is the foundation of equal opportunity, good citizenship, and economic prosperity. It’s time for a Premier who understands the value of a good public school education.”

Erskine-Smith’s plan also recognizes the tremendous financial strain that colleges and universities face, as well as the pressures for many students and recent graduates. His proposed plan will increase operational support for post-secondary institutions and ensure that cost is never a barrier to achievement:

  • Ensure cost is never a barrier to post-secondary education by providing free tuition for low-income families, expanding OSAP grants, eliminating interest on student loans with more flexible repayment, and new student housing.
  • Upgrade on-campus experiences and opportunities by taking action to address sexual and gender-based violence on campuses, delivering greater access to youth mental health services, and levelling the playing field for northern institutions. 
  • Support all kinds of post-secondary success by supporting the trades and work-integrated learning at the same time as we increase support for graduate research.
  • Improve conditions for international students by addressing exploitation and a lack of transparency, working with post-secondary institutions to increase operational funding, and align international enrollment with programs that lead to in-demand jobs.