New national child care system

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Background

On March 28, 2022, Ontario signed onto the new Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) Agreement initiated and funded by the Government of Canada.

CWELCC is a five-year plan to reduce the cost of child care to an average of $10 per day for eligible families.

Child care fee refunds for eligible families whose child care service providers have opted into the program this year, will be retroactive to April 1, 2022.

Funding overview

  • $13.2 billion for Ontario from the federal government over six years (2022-2026)
  • 86,000 expected new child care spaces for children five years old and older in Ontario by the end of 2026
  • $60 million for the City of Ottawa in 2022 for:
    • Reduced fees for families
    • Workforce compensation
    • Program delivery costs to implement and administer these new programs

For families

The Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) System:

  • Gives families more affordable child care options
  • Helps lower child care fees for eligible families
  • Increases child care spaces
  • Supports early years workers

What this means for families

Families may be eligible for reduced fees retroactive to April 1, 2022, if they pay more than $12/day for child care and their child is in a CWELCC participating program. The amount that families will save depends on what they are currently paying and may vary from one provider to another.

Camps and authorized recreation programs are not eligible to participate in the CWELCC System.

For eligible full fee-paying families

  • Fee reductions will be retroactive to April 1, 2022 or to the date the provider received its license, whichever is later.

Refunds will be issued by the provider to families by the end of the year.

For eligible families receiving a child care fee-subsidy

  • A fee reduction will be processed by the City of Ottawa.
  • Families do not need to apply to receive a reduction.

Provider has chosen not to participate

  • Provider will not receive CWELCC funding.
  • Provider will continue to set their own fees.
  • Families will not be eligible for any refund or reduction in fees.
  • Families who want a provider participating in CWELCC can login to the City of Ottawa Child Care Registry and Waitlist to find the list of providers that have opted-in the CWELCC System.

For licensed child care service providers - apply

Existing providers

Opt-in/out and Enrolment in Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC)

Opt-in or opt-out of CWELCC (O. Reg. 236/22, s. 3; O. Reg. 469/22):  Every provider will communicate in writing to parents of eligible children, staff and home providers before November 1, 2022 their decision to opt in or opt out of CWELCC. 

Enrolment in CWELCC:  Providers that have confirmed in writing to parents, employees and home providers their decision to opt into CWELCC, have until December 31, 2022 to enroll and sign the CWELCC service agreement with Children’s Services in their area. To apply or to ask question about the new CWELCC System, email childrensservices@ottawa.ca. Providers who have opted-in to the CWELCC system may withdraw their application, or terminate their participation in the system, subject to the terms of their Child Care Contribution Agreement (which includes the CWELCC System service agreement) without any penalties.

  • If a licensed provider opted-out of CWELCC, families will not receive the reduced fees, retroactive to April 1, 2022.
  • Licensed providers not participating in CWELCC may continue to operate under the existing Provincial licensing and regulatory framework and set their own fees.
  • The funding policy and plan of the new system were approved by City Council on June 22, 2022. The development of the funding policy and plan was supported by the Child Care and Early Years System Planning Advisory Group, Table Francophone, and Indigenous Early Years Circle. Wage enhancement funding will be available for eligible Registered Early Childhood Educators employed in 2022 and for professional learning opportunities.

The Provincial definitions of an eligible child are:

  1. Children who turn six between January and June, and are enrolled in a licensed Kindergarten program, are eligible until June 30 of each calendar year. 
  2.  Children who turn six between January and June and are enrolled in a licensed school age program, are eligible until the end of their birth month. 
  3. Children who turn six later in the year (July to December), are eligible until the end of their birth month regardless of the type of child care programs they attend.  
  4. Children who turn six between January and June, and are attending licensed home child care, in an agency placed or privately placed space, are eligible until June 30 of each calendar year.  
  5. Children who turn six later in the year (July to December), and are attending licensed home child care, in an agency placed or privately placed space, are eligible until the end of their birth month.  

New providers

Existing child care programs and prospective child care service providers can visit the Ministry of Education website for information on how to set up a licensed child care program.

To apply or ask questions about the new CWELCC System, email childrensservices@ottawa.ca.

Children’s Services’ role and next steps

  • We are following the Provincial guidelines and implementing the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) System in phases.
  • Our immediate focus is affordability for families and reducing parent fees up to 50 per cent by the end of 2022.
  • We are supporting the enrollment of providers interested in participating in the CWELCC System by the Provincial deadline. Opting-in will ensure that eligible families will benefit from the increased affordability of child care cost.
  • We continue to provide updates as they are available and communicate directly with licensed providers and families.
  • To apply or ask questions about the new system, email childrensservices@ottawa.ca.