Change to Ontario Cabinet Increases Focus on Child Care
New Associate Minister of Education Will Lead Work on Early Years and Child Care
Premier Kathleen Wynne today announced a change to her cabinet that will help strengthen supports for parents and give children the best possible start in life.
Indira Naidoo-Harris, MPP for Halton, becomes Associate Minister of Education (Early Years and Child Care). She will lead the government's efforts, in partnership with the Minister of Education, to build a high-quality, accessible and affordable early years and child care system that supports choice and flexibility for parents and promotes healthy development for children.
Naidoo-Harris will build on work to date in several areas, including:
- Putting in place a renewed and coordinated system of Ontario Early Years Child and Family Centres to better serve families and communities
- Ensuring that child care policies align with government efforts in areas such as addressing the gender wage gap
- Working with the federal and provincial and territorial governments on a national early learning and child care framework.
Giving children the best start in life is part of the government's economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario's history and is investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.
- Starting September 1, Ontario is ending fees for licensed child care centre and home child care agency wait lists. It is the first province to do so.
- Since 2012–13, the number of licensed spaces in child care centres has increased by more than 56,000 — a 19% increase.
- Ontario is providing $120 million over three years in new funding to create about 4,000 safe, high-quality, licensed child care spaces in schools across the province.
- Ontario is investing $269 million over three years to support a wage increase for early childhood educators and other child care professionals in licensed child care settings.
- Full-day kindergarten has been available to every four- and five-year-old in Ontario since September 2014. Families could save up to $6,500 per child each year in child care costs by enrolling their child in full-day kindergarten.
“Access to high-quality, affordable child care is essential to Ontario families. This new role in cabinet demonstrates our continued commitment to building a child care and early years system that will make life easier for parents and give children the chance to flourish.”
“I want to congratulate Indira Naidoo-Harris on becoming the new Associate Minister of Education for Early Years and Child Care. She is a talented, dedicated and committed MPP. We have many shared commitments and I look forward to working with her on behalf of our province’s children and families. Together, we will ensure Ontario’s child care, early years and education systems continue to benefit the people of Ontario.”
“A child’s development in their early years affects the rest of their lives. In this new role, I look forward to working with child care providers and Ontario families to set our children up for success. We will build an early years and child care system that supports parents and gives more kids the strong start they need and deserve.”