More Than 3,100 New Child Care Spaces for Families Across Ontario
Province Creating New Spaces Ahead of Implementing Free Preschool Child Care
Ontario is continuing to make it easier for families to find high-quality licensed child care by creating another 3,100 new spaces that will help to accommodate families taking advantage of the government's free preschool child care for children aged 2.5 until they are eligible for kindergarten.
Premier Kathleen Wynne was at King Edward Junior and Senior Public School in Toronto today to announce that in May, new funding will roll out across the province for new licensed child care spaces in community locations, such as community centres, places of worship and Indigenous friendship centres. Ontario will support 75 projects to transform existing spaces and build additions, giving parents increased access to quality child care in their communities.
Today's announcement is part of a series of actions the government is taking to ensure that every child and family has access to a range of high-quality and affordable child care:
- This funding is on top of the government's investment in renovation and addition projects at schools, which will create more than 15,000 new licensed child spaces
- It is the latest step in helping 100,000 more children from 0 to 4 access licensed child care over the next five years
- Since September 2016, Ontario has increased access to licensed child care for a total of 31,000 children aged 0-4
- Beginning in 2020, the government is making licensed preschool child care absolutely free for kids from age 2.5 until they can start kindergarten.
Building more child care spaces and making child care more affordable will give parents, especially women, more choice about when and if they return to work, which will help close the gender wage gap and grow Ontario's economy.
Providing parents with more choices for high-quality and affordable child care is part of the government's plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, and free preschool child care from ages 2.5 to kindergarten.
- Ontario is investing $78.6 million this year to support 3,144 licensed child care spaces based in community spaces.
- Funding for these new spaces will start in May 2018, and all of them are required to open no later than December 2020.
- The funding announced today is part of Ontario’s commitment to invest $1.6 billion in capital funding to support the creation of 45,000 new spaces in schools, other public sector spaces and community locations over the next five years.
- This investment also includes more than $930 million to make licensed child care free for kids from the age of 2.5 until they are eligible for kindergarten, starting in September 2020, and about $1 billion over three years to support reduced fees and more subsidized spaces for infants and toddlers.
- Making child care more affordable and accessible was one of the key recommendations from the Gender Wage Gap Steering Committee to close the gender wage gap.
- Ontario is now investing a historic $1.9 billion in early years and child care, which is an increase of 82 per cent since 2014.
- Since 2012–13, the number of licensed child care spaces in Ontario has grown to more than 427,000 — a 45 per cent increase.
“I hear from parents across the province who are worried about finding good, safe and affordable child care. They expect their government’s help and I agree. It’s why we are building child care spaces in a way that is fair and thoughtful. We understand that when it comes to child care, affordability and access have to go hand-in-hand. There are so many public spaces across Ontario that we can use to help relieve parents’ stress about finding the right care for their child. Renovating rooms and building additions at places of worship, or community and Indigenous friendship centres will give parents more choice when it comes to child care, so they can return to work when they choose and know their child will be safe and well cared for.”
“This investment builds vital child care spaces right where parents and caregivers need them. By making it easier for Ontario families to access licensed child care spots in community centres and other public spaces in their neighbourhoods, we are giving families more options and support. With more child care spaces, more fee subsidies and access to free child care for preschoolers, we are ensuring that children across our province get the best possible start in life.”