First Nations and the province have placed First Nation learners at the center of the partnership. This places the learners’ interests first, acknowledging the identity, culture, language and community of the learner as central to our ongoing work.
The Minister of Education represents the interests of the ministry at the provincial cabinet and assists in the development of education policy. With the assistance of the Ministry of Education, the Minister also administers the provincial statutes and regulations that concern education including those that set the length of the school year and allocate funds to school boards in a fair manner using the education funding model.
The Minister is also responsible for:
- developing curriculum;
- setting policies and guidelines for school trustees, directors of education, principals and other school board officials;
- setting requirements for student diplomas and certificates; and
- preparing lists of approved textbooks and other learning materials.
Who is a school board accountable?
Ontario's school boards operate the province's publicly-funded schools. The boards administer the funding they receive from the province for their schools.
Ontario's 72 District School Boards are made up of 31 English-language public boards, 29 English-language Catholic boards, 4 French-language public boards, and 8 French-language Catholic boards.
As well, a small number of Ontario schools are operated by School Authorities. The School Authorities manage special types of schools, such as schools in hospitals and treatment facilities, and schools in remote and sparsely-populated regions.
School boards are responsible for:
- determining the number, size and location of schools;
- building, equipping and furnishing schools;
- providing education programs that meet the needs of the school community, including needs for special education;
- prudent management of the funds allocated by the province to support all board activities, including education programs for elementary and secondary school students, and the building and maintaining of schools;
- preparing an annual budget;
- supervising the operation of schools and their teaching programs;
- developing policy for safe arrival programs for elementary schools;
- establishing a school council at each school;
- hiring teachers and other staff;
- helping teachers improve their teaching practices;
- teacher performance;
- approving schools' textbook and learning materials choices, based on the list of approved materials provided by the Ministry of Education;
- enforcing the student attendance provisions of the Education Act; and
- ensuring schools abide by the Education Act and its regulations.
In general COO receives direction from and is accountable to the 133 First Nations in Ontario. COO coordinates a political forum for collective decision-making, action and advocacy for the 133 First Nations within Ontario. The main objective of COO is to facilitate the discussion, planning, implementation and evaluation of all local, regional and national matters affecting First Nations.
Annual and quarterly reports on finances and activity are provided directly to the 133 First Nation communities. Updates are provided to senior management on a weekly basis. Reports are provided to the PC and Chiefs in Assembly as required by mandate (resolution).