School Facility Condition Index

Making sure that Ontario’s school buildings are in a good state of repair is essential for supporting student achievement and well-being. Doing so requires a significant ongoing investment.

The Government of Ontario is committed to increasing the transparency of its historic investments in school infrastructure so that Ontarians can see the importance of this funding and the results it yields over time. That is why the Ministry of Education is ensuring that the most recent results from its School Condition Assessment Program are readily available to the public. Through this program, independent, third-party facility inspectors conduct assessments to obtain data on the current condition of all open and operating schools across the province. The Facility Condition Index (FCI) is derived from the information that is collected through this process.

What is the Facility Condition Index (FCI)?

The Facility Condition Index is a warehouse of data on each and every school’s state of repair. Information on the condition of Ontario schools is gathered in five-year cycles, the first of which took place from 2011 to 2015. The program is currently in year two of its second cycle (2016 to 2020).

How is data gathered for each school?

To get detailed information, the Ministry of Education hires independent, third-party facility inspectors. Each assessment team is comprised of two engineers — one with expertise in building design and construction, and the other with expertise in building systems (e.g., mechanical and electrical).

The inspectors review essential structures and systems for each school building. They also review wear and tear to building interiors.

How does the Ministry of Education determine a school’s FCI rating?

Based on the findings of each school inspection over a five-year period, the ministry can determine a school’s repair and renewal costs. The cost of a school’s repair and renewal needs are then compared against the cost of rebuilding that same school from the ground up. The results of this comparison — fixing a school or rebuilding it — give the school its FCI, which is measured as a percentage.

Example 1: If the ministry estimates that rebuilding a school would cost $1 million, but repairing it would cost $100,000, that school would have an FCI rating of 10 per cent.

Example 2: Alternatively, if repairing that same million-dollar school were to cost $900,000, it would have an FCI rating of 90 per cent.

It should be noted that the ratings are a snapshot in time as of the date of inspection. The renewal needs and FCI rating can vary from the time of assessment for many reasons, such as investments made by a board to address renewal needs since the inspection.

What is the difference between a school with a low FCI and a high FCI rating?

A school with a low FCI rating needs less repair and renewal work than a school with a higher FCI rating.

Why do schools have a high FCI rating?

Ontario has nearly 5,000 school buildings, the average age of which is 39.4 years old. Some of these buildings date back to the 1800s and early 1900s. These schools are a proud part of our province’s heritage, but as you can imagine, the older a building is, the higher its repair and renewal needs will likely be. As a result of Ontario’s aging school buildings, and a legacy of underinvestment in school infrastructure between 1980 and 2003, the average school’s FCI is 28%.

What is the government doing to improve schools’ FCI ratings?

As the Auditor General noted, investments in school infrastructure have picked up in the last 10 years. In fact, the Government of Ontario has invested nearly $17.5 billion dollars to make schools better places to learn since 2003.

The ministry is continuing its historic investment in school renewal by investing a total of $1.4 billion in both 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years. In a commitment to transparency, the ministry is also disclosing how funding provided under the School Condition Improvement (SCI) program is being invested. As of March 31st 2017, approximately 1.2 billion in SCI funding was invested with many more projects being planned or in progress. In total, as of the 2011-12 school year, the ministry has committed $4.7 billion under this program. The full impact of this historic investment is expected to show in coming years.

This funding enables school boards to repair roofs, update HVAC units and modernize electrical and plumbing systems. It also helps significantly improve more visible elements of schools that impact students’ learning and well-being, including flooring, walls, ceilings, playing fields and more. All of these elements combine to influence a school’s FCI rating, and by investing in repair and renewal, a school’s FCI rating can be lowered and thereby improved.

Why is the Ministry of Education releasing FCI data?

The government believes it is important that Ontarians can access such critical information about their local schools. As the government commits significant investments toward school repair and renewal, Ontarians have the right to a transparent resource for determining the necessity of such investments, and also for monitoring the results of these investments.

To search for your school’s state of repair data, please see, Facility Condition Index – 2016 Assessment Year.

For an in-depth review of the index, please see its accompanying Technical Paper – 2016 Assessment Year.

Previous updates:

Facility Condition Index – 2011-15 Assessments

Technical paper – 2011-15 Assessments