One in five Ontario parents say kids fallen behind during COVID
One in five Ontario parents—and nearly one in five parents nationally—say their child has fallen behind due to the pandemic and the government’s response measures, and they’re not confident their child’s school has a plan to catch them up. That’s according to a new Leger poll of Canadian parents of kids in K-12.
Another one in five Ontario parents (21 per cent) feel their child has fallen behind a lot but are more confident their child’s school has a plan to catch them up.
In response to the pandemic, the Ontario government closed schools for longer than any other province. Beginning March 14, 2020, Ontario schools were closed for 20 weeks until May 15, 2021, not including regional school closures. As of late-2021, regional school closures in Ontario have persisted, with 16 schools closed in November and students moved to online learning.
In the Prairie provinces, about the same number of parents (one in five, or 21 per cent) also say their child has fallen behind and they’re not confident their child’s school has a plan.
Nationally, the numbers are similar, with 17 per cent of parents saying their child has fallen behind and the school has no plan to catch them up, and another 14 per cent saying their child has fallen behind a lot, but they are more confident in their school’s ability to address it.
The number of parents who expressed the most concern was close to one in five in every province except British Columbia, where just over one in 10 parents feel this way. Incidentally, B.C. has the highest rate of independent school attendance in Canada with more than one in every eight students in the province attending such a school.
By contrast, nationally 29 per cent of parents say COVID-19 and government response measures have had a minimal impact on their child’s education, and 36 per cent of parents say their child is behind a little but they are confident their child’s school has a plan to catch them up. That means close to 70 per cent of Canadian parents say their child has fallen behind in school to some extent.
Parents of children in independent school were significantly less worried about their children having fallen behind and their school’s plans to catch them up. Indeed, 84 per cent of parents of children in independent schools said their child’s education was minimally impacted or a little impacted compared to 64 per cent of parents with children in public schools.
Based on the results of this new poll, a significant number of Canadian parents say their kids have fallen behind academically, and a significant number believe their child’s school has no plan to address it. If education policy and schools themselves fail to address these gaps, the impacts of this learning loss will not be short-lived for Canadian children.
The poll was conducted by Leger for the Fraser Institute, using Leger’s online panel. A total of n=1204 online surveys were conducted. 1000 interviews were conducted with a representative sampling of parents across Canada, and an additional 100 interviews were conducted in Alberta and B.C. Interviews were conducted from Nov. 12 to Nov. 21, 2021. As a non-probability survey, a margin of error is technically not to be reported. If the data were collected through a random sample, the margin of error would be ±2.8 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The numbers presented have been rounded to the nearest whole number.