New Interactive Tool Helps Users Better Understand Impacts of COVID-19 School Closures on Young Canadians

Ottawa, March 23, 2021

Statistics Canada, in partnership with Children First Canada, a national organization that is mobilizing an alliance of children's charities, hospitals and researchers, has launched a new online tool aimed at providing data-driven insights into the impacts of pandemic-related school closures on children and youth.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect communities and families across the country, policy-makers have employed remote learning approaches and temporarily closed schools in order to curb the spread of the virus. While these measures are intended to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, school closures and other pandemic-related restrictions may have unintended effects on the 5.7 million children and youth attending primary or secondary school in Canada. Potential impacts include social isolation, poor mental health, learning loss, food insecurity and vulnerability to abuse.

The School Closures and COVID-19: Interactive tool brings together existing information about children and youth who were already known to be vulnerable before the pandemic, as well as available data on the impacts of temporary school closures on young Canadians. The tool, which includes interactive maps that identify the location of vulnerable communities, provides policy makers, industry leaders, teachers and parents with a single point of access to Statistics Canada data about this topic.

This tool is the result of a partnership between Statistics Canada and Children First Canada, which teamed up to identify effective ways to use existing data to better understand the potential impacts of school closures on children and youth. A virtual event was held in February to gather feedback and consult stakeholders on ways in which to make the tool relevant to their needs.

Quotes

"I want to thank our partner, Children First Canada, for their engagement and collaboration in the development of this tool. Together, we organized a hackathon on the subject of children and COVID-19 in order to provide policy makers information to assist them in meeting the challenges they face today. From this collaborative engagement, we have built a tool that brings together the relevant information into a single place that's accessible to everyone. We value and thank all those who have contributed to each phase of this project. We also acknowledge everyone's continued vested interest in improving the education, health and well-being of our children and youth."

Lynn Barr-Telford, Assistant Chief Statistician, Statistics Canada

"Children First Canada was honoured to be invited by Statistics Canada to partner on this project. The development of this new tool was a collaborative effort to harness data on the health and well-being of children in Canada, to inform policy making and programs to mitigate the impact of school closures on kids. Throughout the pandemic, children and youth have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions, threatening their academic success, mental health, protection from violence, and food security. Our hope is that this new tool will help lift the burden of the pandemic off children."

Sara Austin, founder and CEO, Children First Canada

Contacts

For more information, contact Media Relations at 613-951-4636, statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@canada.ca or Children First Canada.