Lise Vaugeois MPP, Thunder Bay–Superior North

Government of Ontario

NDP Education Critic demands an increase in support workers for schools

Published on February 27, 2023

QUEEN'S PARK– Chandra Pasma (Ottawa West-Nepean), NDP Critic for Education, provided a message of support today echoing the calls from families across Ontario whose children face significant mental health issues due to the lack of mental health specialists in schools.

"For years, the government has failed to come up with a strong plan to provide all of our children with adequate mental health supports in school," said Pasma. This problem is getting worse, not better. Half of the schools have no mental health resources at all. Parents have a right to be infuriated by the lack of available resources.”

The Ford government has continued to overburden teachers and education workers by leaving them to try and manage mental health challenges while navigating staffing shortfalls and overcrowded classrooms.

Reports indicate that 91% of schools need support dealing with student mental health, but less than one in ten schools have access to a regularly scheduled mental health specialist or nurse.

"This government continues to take its eye off the ball. We know that a strong support system from a young age is imperative. The absence of support workers in our schools is not only increasing violence in our classrooms, but also making it almost impossible for our children to stay on track with their education. Our children are suffering, and our teachers are overwhelmed. We must expand our schools' mental health support systems and build an education system that prioritizes students and supports staff."