The Governments of Canada and Ontario are making significant investments in early learning and child care systems so that each and every child has the opportunity to succeed and reach their full potential. With confidence and a sense of optimism, federal investments will create more high-quality, affordable child care across the country and improve the lives of Canadian children and their families.
Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, and the Honourable Indira Naidoo-Harris, Minister of the Status of Women and Minister Responsible for Early Years and Child Care, reached a bilateral agreement that reaffirms their commitment to children’s development and future wellbeing and supports the unique early learning and child care needs of Ontario. The three-year bilateral agreement will allocate $435 million for Ontario investments towards increasing the accessibility and affordability of high-quality licensed child care and quality early learning opportunities. This includes investments in Ontario Early Years Child and Family Centres and the creation of Regional Centres of Excellence for professional development opportunities for the early years and child care workforce. The agreement will also build on Ontario’s commitment to help 100,000 more children, aged 0-4, access quality licensed child care over the next five years, and other work to support affordability for families through increased subsidies and community based funding. Annual public reporting will allow Canadians to track progress.
This announcement closely follows a historic agreement, made on June 12, by Federal-Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for Early Learning and Child Care on a Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework. The Framework sets the foundation for governments to work towards a shared long-term vision where all children across Canada can experience the enriching environment of quality early learning and child care. The Framework principles include increasing the quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility, and inclusivity of early learning and child care, with consideration for families that need child care the most.
The bilateral agreement is another step to help ensure that Ontario’s children get the best start in life and is supported by long-term Government of Canada investments announced in Budgets 2016 and 2017, totalling $7.5 billion over 11 years.
- Federal Budgets 2016 and 2017 proposed to invest $7.5 billion over 11 years, starting in 2017-2018, to support and create more high-quality, affordable child care across the country, particularly for families more in need.
- $95 million will go towards closing data gaps, to better understand what child care looks like in Canada and track progress.
- $100 million will go towards early learning and child care innovation.
- A portion of this investment will be dedicated to improving access to culturally appropriate early learning and child care programs for all Indigenous children.
- In the coming months, the federal government will work with each province and territory to enter into three-year bilateral agreements that will address the early learning and child care needs unique to its jurisdiction and funding allocation.
- Through the bilateral agreements, the Government of Canada will provide provinces and territories with $1.2 billion over the next three years for early learning and child care programs. Governments will report annually on progress made in relation to the Framework and bilateral agreements.
- Following the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework signing ceremony, the Canada-Ontario Early Learning and Child Care Agreement is the first bilateral agreement to be signed with the Government of Canada.
- Ontario will help 100,000 more children aged 0-4 access affordable, quality, and responsive licensed child care in schools, homes, and communities over the next five years.
- On June 6, 2017, Ontario released its Renewed Early Years and Child Care Policy Framework and Expansion Plan, which outlines a vision for a high-quality, inclusive and affordable early years and child care system.
- Since 2010-11, child care funding in Ontario has increased by 60 per cent to more than $1.37 billion annually.
- Since 2012-13, the number of licensed child care spaces in Ontario has grown to 389,286 – an increase of 32 per cent.
- Research shows that there are positive relationships between quality early learning and child care, parental labour market participation and child development outcomes. This is particularly true for vulnerable children.