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Ontario's Renewed Early Years and Child Care Policy Framework 2017

Backgrounder

Ontario's Renewed Early Years and Child Care Policy Framework 2017

Ministry of Education

Ontario has been working together with partners in child care and related sectors to build a high quality, seamless, and more accessible early years and child care system.

This renewed framework will help the province transform its early years and child care system to make high-quality early years experiences possible for more children and families.

The framework has seven action items:

1)    Increasing Access: Families will find it easier to access high-quality early years programs and licensed child care spaces in communities, homes and schools.

To achieve this, Ontario is:

  • Helping 100,000 more children aged 0-4 access licensed child care through significant operating, subsidy and capital investments.
  • Prioritizing the growth of not-for-profit child care. Launching an Innovation Fund to support unique solutions to increase access to licensed child care.
  • Providing base-funding for the licensed home child care sector to give families more options for high-quality care.
  • Increasing access to culturally relevant child and family programs and licensed child care in Indigenous communities, building on Ontario's commitments in The Journey Together.
  • Integrating Ontario's existing child and family programs into a single suite of services.

2)    Increased Affordability: Child care will be more affordable for families.

To achieve this, Ontario is:

  • Investing immediately so that more children can have more affordable access to high-quality licensed child care.
  • Increasing funding for fee subsidies to help families who need them.
  • Launching an expert-led Affordability Strategy that will look at ways to transform the child care system to make it more affordable for Ontario families.

3)    Early Years Workforce Strategy: Families will continue to benefit from high-quality child care and early years programming delivered by engaged and knowledgeable educators.

To achieve this, Ontario is:

  • Developing a workforce strategy, including a study to identify how the province can better support ECEs and other child care staff in areas that include: compensation, hiring, retention, education, training and governance.
  • Confirming ongoing funding for wage enhancement while exploring other ways to improve the program.
  • Providing ongoing support for professional development, including two provincially-funded professional learning days per year. 

4)    Defining Quality in the Early Years: Children and families will continue to benefit from a shared view of the role of the child, family and educator across early years settings.

To achieve this, Ontario is:

  • Engaging with early years partners to co-develop a definition of program quality by 2019.
  • Embedding quality into all aspects of Ontario's early years and child care system to create meaningful environments for children, families and early childhood professionals.
  • Researching and developing a mechanism for measuring program quality. 

5)    Promoting Inclusion in the Early Years: Families will find it easier and receive support for children with special needs.

To achieve this, Ontario is:

  • Reviewing current approaches to supporting all children in early years and child care settings.
  • Engaging with stakeholders to develop a renewed approach for children with special needs in the early years.

6)    Outcomes and Measurement Strategy: Families will have increased confidence in how Ontario's early years and child care system is working. 

To achieve this, Ontario is:

  • Developing and releasing an annual report beginning in September 2017.
  • Developing a five-year outcomes and measurement strategy to track progress, measure quality and identify and respond to trends in Ontario's child care system.

7)    Increasing Public Awareness: Families will be able to easily access information about programs and services, including licensed child care and child and family programs.

To achieve this, Ontario is:

  • Creating a one-stop online hub to make it easier to understand and participate in Ontario's early years and child care programs and services.
  • Providing a new visual identity for Ontario's child and family programs.

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