Ontario Cracking Down on Cellphone Use and Banning Vaping in Schools

In Provincial

Ontario’s plan to refocus the education system on getting back-to-basics in the classroom includes new standardized provincewide measures, increased parent communication and $17.5 million (2024-25) in additional resources to support students.

Starting in the 2024-25 school year, Ontario families can expect:

Support for students, parents and school staff:

  • School boards will be required to notify parents annually on the restrictions and requirements for student cellphone use and the consequences for non-compliance.
  • Commitment to have report cards include comments on students’ distraction levels in class.
  • Enforcement procedures for bans on tobacco, electronic cigarettes (vapes), nicotine products, recreational cannabis, alcohol and illegal drugs.
  • A requirement that schools post standardized provincially developed signage in public spaces that reflects the behavioural expectations of the Provincial Code of Conduct.
  • Improved links to progressive discipline for students and labour policies for staff to clarify how to address inappropriate behaviour.
  • Marketing campaigns directed at students and parents in the fall to support prevention through enhanced education and awareness of enhanced code of conduct standards in all schools.
  • Dedicated mandatory training through the use of PA day and extensive webinars for educators and school staff, with emphasis on classroom management practices to remove distractions and strengthen student achievement.
  • Ontario’s $17.5-million investment is providing:
    • $15 million to promote healthy behaviours and reduce distractions in the classroom by actively supporting students who are at risk of problematic substance use and addictive behaviours.
    • $1 million to School Mental Health Ontario to develop webinars and resources for students and parents across the province on the adverse effects of vaping, and tools to reduce cellphone usage and addictive behaviours and response.
    • $1.5 million for Parent Involvement Committees to enable parents and community partners to run grassroots campaigns to deter vaping and cellphone distractions in classrooms.
  • Ontario will set up a task force comprising education partners, parents, students and health experts on the implementation of the Provincial Code of Conduct.

Cellphones and mobile device restrictions in schools:

  • Every school will have uniform policy to have cellphones on silent and removed from sight at the beginning of instructional time – the new default unless explicitly directed by the educator.
  • If students do not comply, cellphones are immediately surrendered where there is no explicit allowance from the educator.
  • For students in kindergarten to Grade 6, there will be a cellphone restriction for the entire school day, but they may be used with permission from the educator.
  • A strengthened personal mobile devices policy with clear responsibilities broken down amongst staff and a requirement for best practices to be developed and shared with staff.
  • Social media sites will be banned on all school networks and devices.
  • Requirement that educators and staff model behaviour and not use personal mobile devices during class for non-work related reasons.
  • New ban on sharing and recording videos or photos of individuals without explicit consent.
  • $500,000 for digital literacy supports for students during the 2023-24 and 2024-25 school years.

Rules for vape, tobacco and nicotine products in student possession:

  • Every school will have uniform policy to have students immediately surrender vape, tobacco and nicotine products in their possession with parents/guardians notified immediately.
  • Strengthening existing mandatory learning on cannabis and vaping within the Health and Physical Education curriculum.
  • Investing $30 million over three years to provide schools with critical safety infrastructure funding for security upgrades, such as vape detectors.
  • Providing $500,000 to community partners to provide education and supports related to student use of vape, tobacco, nicotine and cannabis products.
  • Public Health agencies to continue to be utilized to support education and enforcement where necessary for reoccurring problems, including supports through the STOP program (smoking cessation) through CAMH and the Quash program through the Lung Health Foundation.
Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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