Ontario parents to receive ‘Catch Up Payments’ for school-aged children

Parents in Ontario are set to receive “Catch Up Payments” as part of the provincial government’s plan to help support students after COVID-19 learning disruptions.

The Ontario government said it is launching “catch up payments” which will offer parents $200 or $250 per child to help “offset costs as they support their children as they catch up.”

“This new initiative commits a total of $365 million in direct financial relief for parents,” a news release read.

The government says the payments are for “additional tutoring supports, supplies or equipment that enhance student learning.”

Ontario’s Education Minister Stephen Lecce said it “could not be clearer that we must keep students in class without disruption, with a focus on catching up on the fundamentals — reading, writing and math — after two years of pandemic-related learning disruptions.”

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Read more: EXCLUSIVE: Majority of Ontario’s Grade 6 students failed provincial standardized math test

“We are expanding tutoring supports, assessing every young child’s ability to read, and hiring more staff to ensure all kids get back on track and ultimately graduate into good-paying jobs,” Lecce said in a statement.

“While we have provided over $600 million in learning recovery investments to publicly funded schools, we are also providing parents of all school-aged children direct financial relief that can be immediately reinvested to support their children.”

Schools in Ontario were closed for a total of 20 weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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According to the government, beginning Thursday, parents with school-aged children up to 18-years-old can apply for $200 payments for each child. Parents with school-aged children with special educations needs, up to 21-years-old can apply for $250 payments.

The government said parents can apply for the payments through a secure website.

“Applications for Catch Up Payments will remain open until March 31, 2023,” the release read.

The provincial government also announced additional steps geared towards supporting students.

It said it will be providing new digital resources to classrooms and will be deploying “math action teams” to underperforming school boards.

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The ministry said it will also be providing “early reading enhancements” which includes spending $25 million on “evidence-based reading intervention programs and professional assessments.”

The government said it will also extend its $175 million tutoring support program, continue to modernize the province’s curriculum and offer attendance supports for struggling students.

“These initiatives are in addition to the Ontario Government’s $26.6 billion in funding for the 2022-23 school year, the highest investment in public education in Ontario’s history, which includes the $600 million Learning Recovery Action Plan,” the release read.

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The news comes just a day after news broke that the majority of Grade 6 students in Ontario failed the province’s standardized 2021-2022 math test.

The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) data, obtained by Global News showed 59 per cent of Grade 3 students met the provincial mathematics standard. Just 47 per cent of Grade 6 students met the threshold, while 52 per cent of Grade 9 students were at the standard.

&© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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