SDG Counties receives assurances on Highway 138, rural education

roma delegation
From left, are SDG Counties Coun. Marc St. Pierre, South Glengarry Coun. Stephanie Jaworski, Warden Jamie MacDonald, Education Minister Stephen Lecce, North Glengarry Coun. Jeff Manley and SDSG MPP Nolan Quinn.


SDG COUNTIES, Ontario – Councillors from SDG Counties and local municipalities received assurances this week from a pair of provincial ministers that priorities for safety improvements on Highway 138, as well as augmenting the rural education landscape, will be a focus of the provincial government.

Delegations from SDG Counties engaged with the Hon. Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria, Minster of Transportation, as well as the Hon. Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, at the 2024 Rural Ontario Municipalities Association conference held in Toronto.

Rural education

During its meeting with Education Minister Stephen Lecce, SDG Counties was advised that a moratorium on school closures in Ontario will remain in place for the time being – a notion the SDG Counties Rural Education Committee supports.

Lecce is supportive of the committee’s work to find ways to increase access to quality education opportunities for rural students and families and was encouraged to learn that relationships between SDG Counties and local school boards are being augmented through increased engagement between elected officials.

In particular, Lecce emphasized that accurate local school information should be accessible as stakeholders work with school boards and ministry staff to chart a path forward that takes into account challenges SDG Counties has identified with respect to educating children in a rural setting.

Lecce heard from SDG Counties delegates who advocate that schools must be seen as community hubs, available for use as places of learning, as well as gathering.

“We believe that greater access to schools after hours, by community groups and youth-based agencies, will break down barriers that after often created when the school gate is locked at the end of the day,” said MacDonald. “Our engagement with local school board officials, as well as Ministry staff, will allow for further discussion on how schools can be utilized, after hours, by the public for community-based events. Ontario benefits when schools are seen as community hubs, with greater access.”

SDG Counties wishes to express its thanks to Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MPP Nolan Quinn in helping to facilitate these meetings.

Highway 138

Advancing safety on Highway 138 was top of mind as delegates sought assurances from Sarkaria that much-needed intersection improvements, as well as passing lanes, must be part of capital projects being planned by the province. SDG Counties pointed to the 2017 Transportation Environmental Study Report, a document that outlines specific Highway 138 safety improvements with timelines for completion.

roma delegation
From left are SDG Counties Coun. Steve Densham, Coun. Francois Landry, SDSG MPP Nolan Quinn, Transportation Minister Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria, Coun. Andrew Guindon, Warden Jamie MacDonald and Coun. Bryan McGillis.


Sarkaria agreed that safety improvements contained in the report are a focus for the Ministry of Transportation, and further suggested that SDG Counties provide input on how to prioritize those recommendations.

“Our delegation was most pleased to hear of Minister Sarkaria’s commitment to augmenting safety on Highway 138, including intersection improvements, as well as adhering to the recommendations in the 2017 Transportation Environmental Study Report which call for the construction of passing lanes,” said Warden Jamie MacDonald. “We will continue to press for the completion of these improvements so that motorists can enjoy a safe transit through the heart of our region.”