The Ontario government will be watching unlicensed child care providers even closer should the Child Care Modernization Act (2014) be passed. The legislation was reintroduced on Thursday (July 10) and intends to strengthen oversight of the Province’s unlicensed child care sector, while increasing access to licensed child care options for families. It would also allow the Province to immediately shut down a child care provider when a child’s safety is at risk.
Under the proposed legislation the Province would have the authority to issue administrative penalties of up to $100,000 per infraction by a child care provider, increase the maximum penalty for offences under the act from $2,000 to $250,000 upon conviction and increase the number of children a licensed home-based child care provider can care for from five to six. The Act would also clarify what programs and activities are exempt from licensing requirements - including care provided by relatives, babysitters, nannies and camps that provide programs for school-age children - along with the requirement that all private schools that care for more than five children under the age of four must be licensed.
The proposed legislation builds on the steps Ontario is taking to improve oversight of child care. This includes creating a dedicated enforcement team to investigate complaints against unlicensed providers and the development of an online searchable registry of unlicensed child care violations.
Since 2003, licensed child care capacity has grown by over 100,000 spaces.
There are 5,050 licensed child care centres in the province with a total capacity of 294,490 spaces; 143,020 of those spaces are in schools.