Equipment Allowances

Date came into force or revised

Issued May 9, 1994
Revised December 7, 2012



Policy statement

School districts will be provided with capital funding to purchase essential furniture and equipment for approved new, replacement or renovated facilities.


As part of an approved budget for a capital project, capital funding is allocated to allow school districts to purchase new furnishings and equipment for newly created or updated elementary, middle and secondary schools.


Policy in full

Capital funding approved by the Ministry of Education for new school space includes a calculated equipment allowance for fixed equipment items that should be included as part of constructing new facilities and additions to existing facilities. Fixed equipment includes items such as bleachers, lockers, basketball backstops, wall bars, and millwork (e.g., fixed cupboards and shelves).

Approved capital funding for new school space also allows for the acquisition of furniture and equipment that is typically not affixed to the building. This includes items for general instruction classrooms; specialized instruction classrooms; gym activity space; gym ancillary space; media/technology space; multipurpose space; special education space; and administrative offices.

Specific capital funding is also included for the acquisition and installation of climbing or modular playground equipment in the project budget for new schools that will accommodate elementary-aged students. A board of education may choose to use its local capital funds or to seek funding contributions from the local education community to enhance the playground equipment. This may include the installation of additional playground equipment or ensuring the playground is accessible and inclusive for children or parents/caregivers with a disability.

The equipment allowance for replacement space or renovated space does provide some funding to replace major items of furniture and equipment in keeping with the new decor of a replacement facility or an upgraded facility. It is not intended to update equipment, such as small tools, appliances, textbooks or other learning resource materials, which should be funded by the school district using its annual operating funds.

The Ministry will calculate equipment allowances as a set percentage of the value derived from:

  • multiplying the base budget unit rate for new construction by the approved area of new construction and
  • multiplied by the freight rate for the school’s geographic location. 

The Ministry establishes separate unit rates for new elementary, middle and secondary schools.

The equipment allowance for a project will be calculated using the percentage and base budget unit rate in place at the time a capital funding project agreement between the board of education and the Minster of Education is established.

One-hundred (100) percent of the equipment allowance is provided for approved new space, including new program space approved as part of renovation projects. Twenty-five (25) percent of the new space allowance is provided for approved capital projects involving the replacement or renovation of an existing facility. 

Where a replacement school is larger than the existing school, the equipment allowance will be comprised of the following:

  • an equipment allowance amount for new space, calculated on the approved replacement school area minus the area of the existing facility being replaced, plus
  • an equipment allowance amount for the replacement space, calculated on the area of the existing facility being replaced. 

Where a replacement school is smaller than the existing school, the equipment allowance will be based on the new approved area.

Procedures related to policy

Unit rates, equipment allowance percentages and equipment freight rates are published annually in the Five-Year Capital Plan Allowances, Rates and Costing Factors Supplement.

The Ministry will confirm the equipment allowance calculation as part of the drafting of a capital project funding agreement.