New national child care system

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Background

On March 28, the Province and federal government reached an agreement on a national child care plan for Ontario. The new Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) Agreement establishes the path forward in providing a national system of high-quality, affordable and inclusive early learning and child care services for all families.

Children's Services welcomes the new system changes. Council approved the Service System Plan and 2021-2022 Workplan, with a focus on pandemic recovery and readiness for this new system.

The Province is taking a phased approach to implementing the new system. Affordability for families in 2022 is an immediate goal. Later, the focus will be increased access to child care and inclusion.

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 Agreement (CWELCC) will:

  • Give families access to more affordable and high-quality child care options
  • Help lower child care fees for eligible families
  • Increase child care spaces
  • Support the early years workforce

What this means for families:

  • Families may be eligible for reduced fees retroactive to April 1, 2022, if they pay
    more than $12.00/day for child care and their child is:
    • in a licensed child care program that is participating in the CWELCC
    • five (5) years of age and younger (or six (6) years old until June 30)
  • For 2022, the amount that families will save depends on the current fees the child care provider charges and may vary from one provider to another.
  • Reimbursements will be issued by the child care provider to eligible families by end of year.
  • Families receiving a child care fee subsidy may be eligible for a fee reduction if the provider participates in CWELCC.
  • No application is required from eligible families to receive a child care fee reduction.
  • Camps and Authorized Recreation programs are not eligible to participate in this program.
  • Ongoing updates will be provided as they become available and communicated directly with licensed child care service providers in the coming months.

Timelines:

  • March 28, 2022 - Announcement of CWELCC
  • July 18 to September 1, 2022 - Application period for licensed child care
    providers.
  • September 1, 2022 - All licensed child care providers are required to advise all families of their intent to participate or not in the 2022 CWELCC System.
  • By the end of December 2022 - Fee reductions by the child care provider to eligible families, retroactive to April 1, 2022.

For licensed child care service providers - apply

Existing providers

  • The 2022 Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) System Application is now available. This application is mandatory for all licensed child care agencies in Ottawa to opt-in or opt-out of the new system. Application deadline is September 1, 2022.  To apply or ask questions about the new system, email childrensservices@ottawa.ca.
  • All child care providers with programs for children under the age of six (or turning six before June 30) who meet the Provincial criteria are eligible to apply to the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care System.
  • Licensed child care providers that are not participating in the CWELCC System will not be permitted to change that decision and apply to participate for the remainder of 2022. 
  • Licensed child care providers that choose not to participate may continue to operate under the existing Provincial licensing and regulatory framework. Those providers will not receive the applicable funding and may continue to set their own parent fees. 
  • The funding policy and plan of the new system were approved by City Council on June 22. 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.

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.

Children’s Services’ role and next steps

  • We will continue to play a critical role ahead on the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care System.
  • We are working on a funding policy and plan for the enrollment of licensees interested in participating in the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care System. The funding policy will be brought to Council approval for approval on June 2022. The development of the policy and plan will continue to be supported through the Child Care and Early Years System Planning Advisory Group, Table Francophone, Indigenous Early Years Circle and Design Team sub-groups, as needed.
  • We will continue to provide updates as they are available and communicate directly with licensed child care service providers and families in the coming months.