Ontario Education Minister Laurel Broten
Credits: ANTONELLA ARTUSO/QMI AGENCY
"We know that parents are deeply committed to their children's education, and fundraising is one of the ways they demonstrate their commitment," Education Minister Laurel Broten said in a news release.
"These guidelines will help school boards determine the best way to use fundraising proceeds, while giving parents peace of mind knowing their fundraising efforts are benefiting their child's education."
The guidelines explicitly ban any fundraising that would duplicate existing funding - for example, the ministry provides school with money for textbooks and learning materials, so fundraising to buy more would not be allowed.
"Funds raised for school purposes are used to complement, not replace, public funding for education," the guidelines say.
Similarly, fundraising for capital projects would only be allowed to complement existing facilities and not repair or expand capacity.
Suggested capital projects that would be allowed include schoolyard improvements, such as playground equipment or upgraded sporting facilities.
Schools will also be required to ensure all fundraising is voluntary, has a specific purpose funds raised will be spent on, and doesn't detract from the "learning environment".
"The community deserves to know how schools and boards use the proceeds of fundraising activities," Broten said.
"We have put in guidelines that require boards to make their fundraising policies publicly available on their websites.
"This will increase transparency and accountability by making information available to parents and the community."
Peter Tabuns, New Democrat education critic, said the guidelines are toothless, with no mention of how they would be enforced.
And they would do little to reduce the amount of fundraising families are pushed into doing for the quality of the their children's education, he said.
"The guidelines continue to allow fundraising for field trips, guest speakers, school teams, musical instruments, computers, playgrounds, and library books," Tabuns said.
"All of these things are key to good quality education, and therefore should be funded by government, not on the backs of parents."