QUEEN’S PARK — Doug Ford and Stephen Lecce gave teachers, students and families the impression that at least 21,000 new iPads were on the way to give families in need access to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The truth is that school boards won’t get a single extra device.
“We’ve heard from boards all over the province that are inundated with calls from parents looking for the iPad they believed the government was sending their child,” said NDP Education critic Marit Stiles. “But the sad truth is that Mr. Ford and Mr. Lecce were just taking credit for devices already owned and distributed by school boards.
“Mr. Ford’s words don’t match his actions, and as a result, thousands of kids — especially kids from lower-income households — are being let down. This really adds to the inequity. We need solutions for kids in communities with less resources, and those in remote and rural areas.”
On April 17, a government press release announced “iPad devices are being purchased and distributed by Ontario school boards, pre-equipped with free Rogers LTE wireless data.” The carefully-worded announcement added that “over 21,000 will be sent to the homes of families in need.”
This week, the Toronto and District School Board was forced to distribute a statement to its trustees, which the NDP has obtained. It reads:
“Last week’s announcement by the Minister was highlighting, from a provincial level, what school boards are doing with regard to distribution of devices at the local level. At this point in time, there are no additional iPads (or additional money for iPads) being provided by the Province.”
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