Schools play an important, multi-purpose role in rural communities, serving as an integral part of the social and economic fabric. School closures are affecting these rural societies. 

To ensure a stable community environment, government policies and funding mechanisms should be implemented to ensure these implications are considered fully when closures are contemplated.

OFA proposes the development of a provincial rural education strategy that would recognize the unique role rural schools play in remote areas. Consumer education should begin when consumers are young. It is essential that agriculture-related issues be incorporated into the educational curriculum, stressing the industry’s importance to the provincial economy and dispelling common misconceptions about the industry.

An adequate level of agricultural training and research can be maintained through the provision of adequate funding for agricultural colleges and universities in Ontario. 

Rural Ontario School Closures

OFA believes there are several questions which must be answered before the decision to close a school is made. These questions include the following:

How will students get to school? What is the impact on students if they are required to spend hours each day on the bus just getting to and from school? Will they be too tired to learn to their full potential as a result of how early they must rise just to catch the bus? Will they be able to participate in extracurricular activities, which are so important to children's development?

How will parents' involvement in their children's education change? Will the school be too far away for parents to be able to volunteer I participate at the school? What is the potential impact to the school from this loss of volunteer basis? How does this impact the children?

How will students employment opportunities change? If they are spending a long time commuting, they will not be available for part-time jobs, impacting their ability to save for continuing education after high school and potentially impacting rural businesses that no longer have these students available to hire.

What is the impact of larger schools on the students learning environment and opportunities? It has been demonstrated empirically that in general, learning outcomes are better for smaller schools than they are for larger schools and that smaller schools do not have as many of the social problems that larger schools have. Has this fact been considered in the decision making process to date?

The welfare and best interests of our future generation cannot be ignored, and must be considered even in budgetary decisions. The OFA is committed to lobbying for education that is appropriate for rural Ontario. School boards must also send the message that rural Ontario values its children by making decisions that support their development and growth.

Submissions & Correspondence

OFA submission to Ontario's Rural Education Strategy consultation
(June 9, 2017)

OFA letter regarding proposed school closures by Thames Valley District School Board
(November 11, 2016)

OFA letter regarding proposed school closures by Upper Canada District School Board
(November 11, 2016)

OFA Pre-budget Submission to Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs
(January 22, 2016)

OFA letter regarding Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline Consultations
(December 16, 2015)

Additional Information

Producing Prosperity for Ontario
(November 1, 2017)

Lauzon - Should we keep rural schools open
(January 2, 2001)

Lauzon final report - Negotiating Rural Futures
(January 2, 2001)

Education Equality Task Force's Final Report
(January 1, 2001)


Study shows value of Ontario’s agri-food economy
(November 15, 2013 - Rural Economic Development, Agri-Food Research, Health Care, Education, Transportation)

Provincial budget holds promise for Ontario agriculture
(May 3, 2013 - Municipal Government, Rural Economic Development, Health Care, Education, Business Risk Management)

Kemptville College closure disappointing for Ontario agriculture
(March 14, 2014 - Agri-Food Research, Education)

The provincial budget is now an election platform
(May 2, 2014 - Agri-Food Research, Education, Business Risk Management, Property Assessment and Taxation, Local Food, Natural Gas Infrastructure)

OFA crunches the numbers on issues for provincial budget
(January 16, 2015 - Rural Economic Development, Health Care, Education, Bioeconomy, Natural Gas Infrastructure, Provincial Funding Transfers to Municipalities )

Solution to urban housing crunch lies outside the city
(April 20, 2017 - Rural Economic Development, Health Care, Energy, Education, Natural Gas Infrastructure)

The real cost of closing rural schools
(October 28, 2016 - Rural Economic Development, Education)

The challenges of getting back to school in rural Ontario
(August 31, 2017 - Rural Economic Development, Education, Telecommunications)

Schools, communities, and businesses as co-dependents
(April 6, 2017 - Municipal Government, Rural Economic Development, Education)

OFA disappointed provincial budget does not grow agriculture
(April 28, 2017 - Rural Economic Development, Agri-Food Research, Environmental, Energy, Education, Business Risk Management, Transportation, Telecommunications, Income Tax, Property Assessment and Taxation, Drainage, Natural Gas Infrastructure, Provincial Funding Transfers to Municipalities , Climate Change)

OFA presents election theme during Ontario Ag Week
(October 6, 2017 - Rural Economic Development, Health Care, Energy, Education, Natural Gas Infrastructure)

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