Capital Programs for Kindergarten to Grade 12

Capital funding from the provincial government covers most of the capital costs for site acquisition, new school construction and school additions or renovations. Boards of education submit capital plans that include details on school building priorities in their school districts. The provincial government establishes an overall capital budget for schools based the ministry's capital allocation. Each capital request is analyzed according to specific criteria and available resources are allocated to the highest-priority projects

The Annual Facility Grant is part of the Asset Rehabilitation and Maintenance suite of funding programs which include the Building Envelope Program (BEP), the Carbon Neutral Capital Program (CNCP) and the School Enhancement Program (SEP). AFG funding is provided to boards of education to be used at their discretion to address repair and maintenance priorities at schools to ensure these facilities are safe and functioning well.​

There are 9 main categories of eligible AFG expenditures:

  • Accessibility upgrades (improvements related to access for persons with mobility issues or physical disabilities);
  • Asbestos Abatement (mitigation and/or remediation of asbestos affected areas);
  • Electrical upgrades (improvements or replacements of power supply and distribution systems, fire protection systems, and technological infrastructure upgrades to accommodate computer and telecommunications networks);
  • Exterior Wall System upgrades (improvements to protect the fabric of the building, including exterior painting, window and door replacement, building envelope repair and replacement, structural and non-structural seismic mitigation);
  • HVAC upgrades (improvements, replacements or provision of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems);
  • Interior Construction upgrades (improvements of school facilities related to flooring, wall partitions, non-structural upgrades, and the provision of educational programming);
  • Plumbing upgrades (improvements, replacements or provision of washroom and plumbing systems, and safe drinking water);
  • Roofing upgrades (scheduled roof replacements and major roof repairs);
  • Site upgrades (site improvements including positive site drainage; repairs to sidewalks, parking lots, site access/egress, paved work areas, paved play areas, and play fields; repairs, upgrading or replacement of playground equipment; perimeter safety fencing; contaminated soil remediation; underground storage tanks removal; sewer or water services; underground irrigation systems; traffic safety).

Expenditures for annual facility projects may include any associated consultant fees. 
Examples of ineligible use of AFG include:

  • Building expansions resulting in increases to gross facility area or nominal capacity
  • Building acquisitions
  • Site acquisitions
  • Acquisition of equipment, furnishings, personal computers and peripherals, servers, or vehicles and their accessories

The Building Envelope Program (BEP) was established in 2002 to help B.C. school districts with remediation of schools suffering damage from water ingress due to premature building envelope failure. School facilities that are eligible for funding under the BEP are facilities built between the year of 1985 and 2000, and have a risk assessment report facilitated by B.C. Housing.

The Ministry of Education will use BC Housing list of BEP projects as a guide to plan for funding future BEP projects.  B.C. Housing has established an industry-accepted repair process, and has an experienced team to effectively assess, prioritize, and project manage repairs to buildings currently affected by moisture ingress, and premature building envelope failure.

When selecting priorities for BEP funding, the school district shall consider the following:

  • Where the school is identified on BC Housing’s list
  • Coordination with other capital program needs for the schools, such as SMP
  • The LRFP demonstrates the school district is working towards optimizing available space
  • Space within the school district and / or family of schools is optimized within reasonable proximity to the school requiring mitigation by considering operational changes or consolidation to justify the need for mitigation
  • Utilization of current enrolment and forecast growth over the next 10 years is analyzed and determined the optimal size and configuration of the school.  This information is integrated into the mitigation options
  • Previous recent projects have been delivered within the scope, schedule and budget
  • The school district has the resources to successfully deliver the project

Where approved by the Ministry of Education, bus acquisition funding will be based on a capital allowance.  School districts must procure their school buses using the annual Request for Standing Offer (RFSO) process managed by the Association of School Transportation Services of British Columbia (ASTSBC). Details of the RFSO can be found at

Bus funding requests that will be eligible funding will consider the following;

  • School bus age and/or mileage
  • Existing buses with safety and mechanical issues
  • New school buses to support new routes due to increased district enrolments that are without current service
  • School district’s intention to create their own bussing services versus using third-party contracted services

The CNCP is a program which is available to provide specific funding to energy-efficiency projects that lower the school districts carbon emissions.
When selecting priorities for CNCP funding, the school district shall consider the following:

  • The measurable emissions reductions and operational cost savings
  • Coordination with other capital program needs for the schools, such as Seismic Mitigation Program (SMP)
  • That the Long Range Facilities Plan (LRFP) demonstrates the school district is working towards optimizing available space
  • Priorities are identified that will do the greatest good for the greatest number of students
  • Previous recent projects have been delivered within the scope, schedule and budget
  • The school district has the resources to successfully deliver the project

The Ministry of Education’s priority for expanding school space is to areas experiencing consistent and rapid, high density population growth due to economic development and where space optimization has been demonstrated.

The Ministry of Education requires all capital funding requests for space expansions to be supported by: 

  • A cost-benefit analysis based on the selection of the “least cost option” over the life of the school
  • Current Long Range Facilities Plan that demonstrates the school district is working towards achieving optimal space utilization
  • A verification that enrollment has increased in the area over the previous five consecutive years and the next 10 years
  • A cost share commitment by the board of education based on available capital funding

Optimal space utilization varies between large urban districts and small rural districts due to practical realities of population distribution, density, travel distances and weather extremes. Additionally, an approach to optimizing space utilization varies between school districts due to declining enrolment, stable enrolment, increasing enrolment or shifting enrolment within the school district. For most areas, a forecast of 10 years is the standard for anticipating growth and should be included when assessing utilization. 

Site Acquisitions

Capital requests for site acquisitions require the same provision of supporting information as requests for space expansions and the school district must have School Site Acquisition Charges (SSAC) in place before the Ministry of Education will support a site request. 
Once SSAC have been established in a school district, updated ten-year enrollment projections will inform the school district’s annual consultations with its local government regarding the need for new school sites and the calculated values of the per-unit SSAC. 

Supporting inclusion and accessibility for all children, the PEP is available to provide specific funding to purchase and install new or replacement playground equipment that is universal in design, and in compliance with accessibility measures as defined through the Canadian Standards Association CAN/CSA-Z614-14 (R2019): Children's Playspaces and Equipment.

Universal design aims to create environments that can be used by as many people as possible without special adaptions or modifications, and projects should include equipment and appropriate surfacing which create an inclusive and accessible playground concept. 

Universally designed playground spaces include adventure-style playground equipment that is designed to include all elementary-aged students regardless of ability.

To meet the range of students’ needs in designing playgrounds to include every child, school districts should consider all physical, mental, intellectual, learning, communication or sensory impairment – or functional limitations – whether permanent, temporary or episodic in nature, that in interaction with a barrier, hinders a person’s full an equal participation in society.

This equipment is to be permanently fixed on a school site and include appropriate ground cover for fall protection, improved access, and increased mobility.


Replacement (REP)

Where schools have reached, or will shortly reach the end of the expected useful life, and further investment is not substantiated due to major structural issues or the accumulation of maintenance needs that would exceed the cost of replacement, the Ministry of Education will consider submission for school replacement. All projects, which include a full replacement school or a partial replacement of an existing school, must be supported by a recent building condition assessment and engineering reports substantiating the request. 

The School Enhancement Program was launched in 2014 to help school districts extend the life of their facilities through a wide range of improvement projects, including:

  • Roofing upgrades (i.e., replacement, repair)
  • Exterior Wall System upgrades (i.e., cladding, insulation, windows, building envelope)
  • Interior Construction upgrades (i.e., interior accessibility, flooring, wall partitions)
  • HVAC upgrades (i.e., heating, ventilation, air conditioning) 
  • Electrical upgrades (i.e., power supply, distribution systems, fire protection systems)
  • Plumbing upgrades (i.e., washrooms, water fountains, re-piping)

Consideration will also be given to whether the project proposals:

  • Address issues affecting safety or the effective functioning of the school
  • Are in schools with unique significant importance to the school district such as those in rural areas with limited alternatives
  • Where the benefits over the costs of the improvements are positive over the appropriate time horizon for the investment

Successful projects are chosen based on need, priority and how well they support student learning and safety. 

The School Protection Program (SPP) aims to help school districts pay less for insurance premiums by providing them with professional risk management services. These services include:

  • Risk, insurance and loss funding programs
  • Claims and litigation management services
  • Risk management advice
  • Loss control inspections.

The Risk Management Branch (RMB) of the Ministry of Finance, administers and delivers SPP in conjunction with the Ministry of Education.

The Rural Districts Program (RDP) assists school districts with school facilities in rural communities. The intention of the RDP is to target funding for specific types of projects that would directly benefit school facilities in rural communities but are typically not included under the Ministry’s Major Capital Program or Minor Capital Program. Specifically, RDP will provide funding for the full and partial demolition of board-owned buildings, and for capital projects associated with the consolidation of under-utilized schools.

RDP funding support will only be considered for schools in communities with a population of less than 15,000 inhabitants in those school districts located outside of the Lower Mainland, Greater Victoria, and Kelowna.