OCBCC's pre-budget brief: Building a child care system that works


There has never been a better opportunity to move forward on developing an early childhood education and care system in Ontario. The recently elected federal government has committed to working together with provinces, territories and Indigenous governments to build an Early Learning and Child Care Framework. This commitment was confirmed in the Ministerial mandate letters of the federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. This is the willing federal partner that Ontario has been waiting for. Ontario has an opportunity to be a leader on this framework and it is a chance we must seize. It is a time to step up on early learning and child care rather than step back.

In response to this federal commitment, the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada (our federal counterpart), in collaboration with community partners from across the country, has developed a Shared Framework for Building an Early Childhood Education and Care System for All. This Shared Framework is designed to facilitate a collaborative intergovernmental and community process and serve as a foundation for a program that will grow, over time, to meet the needs of families, children and the child care workforce in all regions.

To kick start this process of transformation we recommend that the Ontario government adopt the principles of the Shared Framework for Building an Early Childhood Education and Care System for All and immediately begin a process to transform Ontario’s current child care market patchwork into a comprehensive system. We know that this government has committed to modernizing child care. But now is the time to show the political will and funding dollars to make that commitment a reality.

Budget action items:

We recognize that working toward the goal of transformational change in early childhood education and care will be a multi-year process. But there is much that can be done immediately to address issues of affordability, the child care workforce and underserved populations.

  • Recognizing the severe underfunding of Ontario child care, we call on the Ontario government to commit to new child care funding — an immediate $300 million annual fund to support child care services directly and kick start a process of system transformation;
  • To begin to address the shortfall of child care spaces, we recommend a $100 million capital fund to increase spaces across the province;
  • The province should contribute an additional $75 million to address immediate system crises such as program viability, and cuts to municipalities through funding formula changes;
  • Overall funding should be indexed to inflation;
  • A provincially established workforce strategy to ensure staff with equivalent education and work responsibilities across the sector are paid professional pay for professional work;
  • Funding and resources to support system infrastructure including data and research.