Creating more child care spaces

The need for child care is growing in Ontario.

Right now, about 20% of 0-4 year olds in Ontario are in licensed child care. That’s not enough to meet the demand.

To meet the increasing demand, Ontario is making early years and child care more seamless and accessible for more children and families.

The Renewed Early Years and Child Care Policy Framework is our plan to transform Ontario’s early years and child care system. Some highlights include:

  • helping 100,000 more children aged 0-4 years old access early years and child care programs and services over the next five years
  • increasing funding for fee subsidies to make child care more affordable
  • supporting Ontario’s early years professionals by establishing an early years workforce strategy
  • working with early years partners to establish a provincial definition of quality and support high-quality programming
  • promoting inclusion in early years and child care settings to make it easier for families to navigate services for all children, including those with special needs

 Read more in Ontario’s Renewed Early Years and Child Care Policy Framework.

Building a better child care system

This framework builds on positive steps we have taken in recent years to create a child care and early years system that is more responsive to families’ needs.

Child care wait lists

We banned fees for child care wait lists to improve the accessibility of child care and make life easier for families. This prevents licensed child care centres and home child care agencies from charging fees or requiring deposits to join child care wait lists.

Wage increases

Ontario is making an ongoing funding commitment to support a wage enhancement for eligible child care professionals working in licensed child care. The first increase took place in January 2015.

Community hubs

The government is working to expand community hubs and working with existing hubs to:

  • expand child care
  • increase child and family support services
  • offer early years programs
  • provide local services tailored to their communities

Updated rules and quality for child care

We modernized the child care system in 2014 by updating the rules governing child care, which had not been updated in decades. The Child Care and Early Years Act provides for a high level of safety standards for licensed child care and will help bring unlicensed child care into the regulated sector.

Through the act, we also developed a learning resource for early years educators to help strengthen the quality of programs and better support children’s learning, development, health and well-being.

Transformation of Early Years Programs

The government is working closely with municipal, school board and early years partners to integrate Ontario’s existing child and family programs into a single suite of services to better serve children and families including:

  • Ontario Early Years Centres
  • Parenting and Family Literacy Centres
  • Child Care Resource Centres
  • Better Beginnings Better Futures

Families will have access to better, more consistent, quality programs beginning in January 2018.