The Community and Protective Services Committee today approved a City plan to implement a new Early Years system in Ottawa as the Government of Ontario boosts funding for the service.
The provincial government is merging four provincially funded Early Years programs into a unified system called the Ontario Early Years Child and Family Centres. The service will be implemented by Jan. 1, 2018 and managed by municipalities. The new system will be easier to navigate and access for parents and caregivers and will provide consistent Early Years programming.
The Government of Ontario is increasing funding to the Early Years sector to implement the new system, providing $9.6 million to Ottawa in 2018, $2.9 million more than in 2017. Early Years services include playgroups, workshops, pre/post-natal supports and information and referral services that benefit children from infancy to age six, their parents and caregivers. The programs are run at 99 locations across Ottawa, reaching an estimated 27,000 children a year.
Under the plan approved by the Committee, there will be a one-year transition for 2018. During this time, existing program providers would have their funding extended as the City analyses data about needs, continues discussion with community groups and puts management and policy into place.
The Committee approved a new sponsorship agreement with Meridian Credit Union, the largest credit union in Ontario. Under the proposed agreement, Meridian will pay the City of Ottawa $975,000 over the next 15 years to have its name used for the Centrepointe theatres, which would be named the Meridian Theatres at Centrepointe. Of the funds provided, $200,000 would be dedicated to capital and operating improvements at the theatres and the rest of the money would support City programs and services.
Staff provided an update to the Committee about the City’s response to an order given by the Government of Ontario about the City’s long-term care homes in regards to care of residents.
Reports from today’s meeting will be considered by City Council on Wednesday, September 27.