Statement from the Honourable Lisa Thompson, Minister of Education

Ontario Education Minister Lisa Thompson
Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

TORONTO — Today, Lisa Thompson, Minister of Education, issued the following statement regarding media reports of spending mismanagement at the Toronto District School Board:

“I was incredibly shocked and disappointed to learn of the Toronto District School Board’s efforts to purchase nearly 4000 I-Phone XS and XS Max phones. These $1500 phones are the most expensive on the market. The average Ontario resident can’t afford to buy this phone, why should the TDSB spend millions of dollars on these top-of-the-line phones for their senior executives, when much cheaper options are available?

What’s most troubling is that the decision to spend millions of dollars on top-of-the-line iPhones took place at a time when we have asked our education partners – including the TDSB – to work with us to find savings and protect front line services.

For nearly two months the TDSB has been fear-mongering, scaring parents and misleading the public by claiming teachers were going to lose their jobs, all the time knowing they were going to spend upwards of $5 million on top-of-the-line cell phones.

Furthermore, it is deeply troubling that the procurement was only canceled late last week – after media learned of this outrageous request. The TDSB only took action once they knew they were caught.

At least four previous audits and external reviews have identified procurement issues at the Toronto District School Board, and it appears no lessons were learned – what else are they hiding? How else are they wasting public funds?

Our government is prepared to take action to restore public confidence in the TDSB’s spending practices. As a first step, I am calling on the TDSB to immediately review all procurement activity and cancel any unnecessary spending that would take more money away from classrooms. The TDSB must satisfy the public, and our government, that this type of blatant mismanagement of tax dollars will come to an immediate end.”

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