Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Indira Naidoo-Harris, Minister responsible for early years and child care, today announced the investment of $200 million in operating funding to allow the creation 24,000 new child care spaces in the province as well as additional funding for 13,000 subsidies in 2017-18 to address immediate needs of families. These measures are part of the government's renewed framework for the early years and child care in Ontario which will be presented in the next few weeks.
The AECEO commends the government for its significant commitment to improving life for children and families in Ontario by creating 100,000 new child care spaces over the next five years and allocations in its 2017 budget of funding to begin to address the access and affordability crisis in the province.
Our pre-budget submission strongly recommended that funds in the 2017 budget be directed to the Ministry of Education to support systemic solutions that address affordability for parents and compensation for Early Childhood Educators and early years staff. Our recommendation was for base funding of operational costs for non-profit and community programs coupled with a sliding fee scale as a funding structure to ensure professional pay and decent work for all ECEs and early years staff.
Yesterday at our pre-budget press conference we reminded Kathleen Wynne that Ontario's Early Childhood Educators, parents, families and children are expecting big things for child care in this year's provincial budget including how the government plans to address decent work for the Early Childhood workforce as part of a comprehensive workforce strategy. We were heartened to hear Minister Naidoo-Harris say at today's press conference that “...an important pillar in our upcoming framework includes new ways to support the workforce, our early childhood educators and provide opportunities for our world class ECEs.” because we can't talk about affordability without also talking about good wages and jobs for the workforce.
The AECEO and the OCBCC have convened an expert task force to make policy recommendations to the Ontario government on its strategy for the early childhood workforce. The the Minister's words today are a step in the right direction and we look forward to working together to address our recommendations in legislation this fall.
Helping Ontario Families Access Affordable Child Care
Ontario news release - April 26, 2017
Watch recorded video coverage of announcement here
Ontario budget to pump millions into child care subsidies
Toronto Star, April 26, 2017