The Ontario Ministry of Education has partnered with Music Canada to invest $3 million in the Three R’s Music Program, a musical instrument refurbishment program which aims to refurbish and restore musical instruments in Ontario’s publicly funded schools.
The funding, which is part of the $21 million commitment to arts education announced in Ontario’s 2018 Budget, and will be prioritized towards to at-risk, minority, and Indigenous youth.
The announcement comes after a 2017 report by the People for Education, which found that there has been a 48 percent drop in elementary schools with music teachers from a decade ago.
According to Annie Kidder, executive director of People for Education in a CBC report, the decline is largely due to a declining enrolment, and a trend toward reallocating funds towards math and science. Despite the trend, studies continue to suggest arts education plays a fundamental role in the development of children’s cognitive and social skills, problem-solving, and emotional regulation.
The report also noted that elementary schools in the Greater Toronto Area were nearly three times more likely to employ music teachers than schools in rural Ontario communities.
The arts investment was made in consultation from recommendations by community arts educators, cultural organizations and cultural industry leaders at a roundtable forum co-hosted by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport held in October 2017.