By Hilary White

TORONTO, April 24, 2008 ( – Plummeting birth rates have resulted in the closure of over 300 schools in Ontario and half of the province’s school boards have 90,000 fewer students than they did six years ago. 300 schools are slated to be closed in the province simply because there are not enough children to go into them according to a report by People for Education.

“Much of the funding that school boards receive is based on numbers of students,” the report said. “As a result, fewer students equals less funding, fewer programs and, in many cases, closing schools.” The losses in this report are in addition to the 110 school closures in Ontario between 2004 and 2005.

Four years ago, University of Toronto economics professor David Foot called then-record low birth rate the “revenge of the birth control pill.” Foot, the author of 1996’s Boom, Bust and Echo, a book on Canadian demographics, said the widespread use of artificial contraception was responsible for fewer children being born in the 1960s and 1970s. This left fewer women of child-bearing age for the next generation, today’s mothers.

The number of live births for every 1,000 people, plunged by 25.4 per cent between 1993 and 2005. Despite slight increases, Canada’s total fertility rate in 2005 was 1.54 children per woman, an increase of only .01 per cent, but which, nevertheless, is the highest rate since 1998. The latest report from People for Education estimates that there will be 500,000 fewer students in Canada’s schools in the next 10 years.

The Ontario Ministry of Education has predicted that by 2010, total elementary and secondary school enrolment will drop by nearly 100,000 students from 2002 numbers.

Read related coverage:

Maclean’s Cover Story Warns Canada’s Low Birth Rate Leading to Demographic Crisis

Ontario Population Crisis: 110 Schools Slated for Closure