Province Withholds Approval for Education Development Charges Study

By: Laura Steiner

The Ministry of Education is withholding approval of a background study on Education Development Charges (EDC)’s for Halton District School Board (HDSB) and Halton District Catholic School Board.  The background study is necessary as part of the reviews of their EDC bylaw.

The Education Act allow boards of education to recover growth-related net education land costs from developers through Education Development Charges.  The by-law for both HDSB, and HCDSB expires June 24, 2018.   Provincial approval of the background study is  a required part of the planning process.

Halton District School Board discussed the Education Development Charges By-law and its upcoming expiration at their June 20th meeting.  Failure to adopt the bylaw means a potential financial collective loss of $221,545/ day or $4.87 million/ month until the bylaw is passed for both boards put together.  “The combined losses for both the Halton District School Board and Halton Catholic District School Board will have serious financial impact,” says Andrea Grebenc, Chair of the Halton District School Board.

The background study includes information on estimated number of growth-related students, as well as the sites for new schools required to house them.  The information was submitted to the Ministry of Education in mid-March, with new bylaws passed by mid-May 2018.

Region of Halton Demands Immediate Action on EDCS

Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr has sent a letter to Premier Designate Doug Ford urging on behalf of area mayors asking for immediate action.  “This is a significant amount of potential revenue they cannot afford to lose.  In order to meet provincial growth targets, while ensuring sufficient infrastructure is in place, we need to ensure growth pays for itself rather than the financial burden falling on existing taxpayers.

The region estimates 29 new schools, and additions need to be built by 2032. “We know that the Halton Region is one of the fastest growing areas in the country and therefore the demand to provide student accommodation in a timely fashion is significant and challenging,”  says Diane Rabenda, Chair of the Halton Catholic District School Board.  The area’s population is expected to reach 1 million by 2041 under the Places To Grow Act.

HDSB Chair Grebenc has been in contact with area MPPS who are working together to solve the issue.  If the bylaws are not passed, the boards of education will be unable to recover lost revenue.

Update- 26/6/2018: Ford Transition Team to Extend Current EDC Bylaw

The Ford Transition Team has announced its intention to extend the current bylaw on Education Development Charges (EDC).  “The extension will remain in place until a new agreement is reached, however we remain hopeful that new parameters for a by-law will be negotiated in the coming weeks so that these school boards can move forward with clarity and certainty in the years.”  The Transition team said.

It will be the top priority for the incoming Education Minister.  PC Leader Doug Ford won a majority government on June 7, 2018.  Ford, and his cabinet will be sworn in Friday June 29.