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  • News
  • April 04, 2017

Education Minister and MPP Yvan Baker announce province plans to acquire Silver Creek Public School preserving autism and child care services in Etobicoke Centre

Province proposes to transform space into community hub, protecting services for over 1,200 children with special education needs

Etobicoke – Ontario is seeking to preserve local community services for families in Etobicoke Centre, including autism supports and licensed child care, by proposing to acquire Silver Creek Public School from the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and maintaining it as a community hub.

Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education, and Sophie Kiwala, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Children and Youth Services, were joined by Etobicoke Centre MPP Yvan Baker at Silver Creek Pre-School in Etobicoke today to make the announcement, which will also see McNicoll Public School in North York transferred to provincial ownership.

This proposed investment would mean the full range of support services currently offered by the Etobicoke Children’s Centre and Silver Creek Pre-School at Silver Creek Public School in Etobicoke would continue to be available for local families. Services include:

  • Supports for children’s mental health and autism
  • Licensed child care, including specialized care for children with special needs.

MPP Yvan Baker, who represents the area, has been working on this issue since learning that the TDSB was planning to sell Silver Creek Public School, which would have displaced hundreds of children with special education needs at Etobicoke Children’s Centre and Silver Creek Pre-School.

“It was unacceptable to me that we would endanger services for the most vulnerable children in our community,” said Baker. “That is why I made saving Silver Creek a priority and fought alongside members of our community, including Friends of Silver Creek, to protect these vital services.”

Baker’s efforts included advocacy to the Premier, several ministers and other MPPs in caucus to urge the province to save Silver Creek.

Today’s announcement marks the last major milestone of a long advocacy effort by Baker and the community before the transfer is finalized.

The transfer of Silver Creek Public School from the TDSB to the province will follow the process for the sale of all public lands set out by government regulations over the coming months. The Silver Creek community and families of children using the services at Silver Creek will be informed once the process is complete.

QUOTES

“I have been working very hard alongside members of our community to preserve Silver Creek. With today’s announcement that the Province intends to acquire Silver Creek, families in Etobicoke Centre can take comfort in knowing that we are working to maintain the services for children with special education needs. I’m proud to have fought so hard to protect what matters most to our community.”

— Yvan Baker, MPP for Etobicoke Centre

“Schools are at the heart of our communities. They function as natural community hubs. I am delighted that our government is investing in these former schools so that they can remain important multi-use spaces in their Etobicoke and North York communities.”

— Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education

“Silver Creek and McNicoll Public Schools are places where families come together to access important services. Purchasing both sites will allow these agencies to continue being hubs for children’s services, providing high-quality mental health and autism supports to the communities they serve.”

— Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services

 QUICK FACTS

  • The province is seeking to acquire the facilities from the TDSB through a land exchange. The school board would receive provincially-owned property in the West Don Lands of a comparable value for a future school site.
  • Etobicoke Children’s Centre and Silver Creek Pre-School serve over 1,200 children with autism and special education needs every year.
  • Offering more licensed child care spaces aligns with the government’s commitment to support community hubs that provide citizen-focused, co-ordinated services such as child care, education, health care and social services.

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