The Ontario government is making child care more affordable and accessible for families across the province, creating an additional 53,000 new, affordable licensed child care spaces by December 2026 – bringing our total to 86,000 new spaces since 2019.
In March 2022, Ontario secured a six-year, $13.2 billion agreement with the federal government which will lower fees for families and deliver an average of $10 a day child care by September 2025. This included an initial investment of $10.2 billion for the first five years of the agreement and an additional commitment for at least $3 billion in year six. Today, as part of that agreement, Ontario is announcing a targeted plan to create new licensed child care spaces, with a focus on increasing access to families across Ontario.
“We are delivering savings directly to families while increasing access to child care spaces in communities small and large,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “Our government is making child care affordable — with savings averaging between $6,000 to $10,000 per child by the end of this year — and investing in new spaces that will benefit parents for years to come. With the cost of living rising across the country, the Ontario government is increasing access to child care spaces and delivering needed financial relief for families.”
The new spaces will be allocated to communities across Ontario using a model that incorporates demographics, socio-economic indicators, and existing licensed child care capacity. The new spaces will be part of the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) system and includes a mix of not-for-profit and for-profit centres, a key priority of the Government of Ontario to respect and ultimately provide families with choice and flexibility. Additionally, the province will enhance the availability of flexible models of care for a changing economy and labour market – for example, child care spaces that are available on weekends and overnight to support people who work shifts.
To ensure child care spaces are also created in locations and for populations most in need — including for children with special needs, Indigenous and Franco-Ontarian communities — Ontario is launching a $213 million grant program for new and existing operators. These one-time grants, prioritizing regions with historically low rates of space availability, will help child care operators offset the initial costs of expanding or creating spaces, such as purchasing equipment or renovating facilities.
|Municipality||New Allocated Child Care Spaces|
|Algoma District Services Administration Board||204|
|City of Brantford||740|
|City of Cornwall||465|
|City of Greater Sudbury||219|
|City of Hamilton||1,517|
|City of Kawartha Lakes||443|
|City of Kingston||265|
|City of London||2,080|
|City of Ottawa||1,545|
|City of Peterborough||261|
|City of St. Thomas||702|
|City of Stratford||569|
|City of Toronto||5,764|
|City of Windsor||1,540|
|County of Bruce||645|
|County of Dufferin||478|
|County of Grey||504|
|County of Hastings||827|
|County of Huron||391|
|County of Lambton||521|
|County of Lanark||169|
|County of Lennox & Addington||432|
|County of Norfolk||441|
|County of Northumberland||310|
|County of Oxford||437|
|County of Renfrew||427|
|County of Simcoe||3,082|
|County of Wellington||1,721|
|District Municipality of Muskoka||307|
|Kenora District Services Administration Board||246|
|Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Administration Board||183|
|Municipality of Chatham-Kent||315|
|Nipissing District Services Administration Board||109|
|Parry Sound District Services Administration Board||131|
|Rainy River District Services Administration Board||147|
|Regional Municipality of Durham||2,029|
|Regional Municipality of Halton||880|
|Regional Municipality of Niagara||1,951|
|Regional Municipality of Peel||7,621|
|Regional Municipality of Waterloo||1,871|
|Regional Municipality of York||1,049|
|Sault Ste. Marie District Services Administration Board||118|
|Thunder Bay District Services Administration Board||419|
|Timiskaming District Services Administration Board||125|
|United Counties of Leeds & Grenville||397|
|United Counties of Prescott & Russell||207|
Funding for an additional 8,032 spaces is available in contingency funding. The contingency funding is to address higher than anticipated capacity for growth across the province and will follow from discussion with municipalities to address additional growth.
To date, 92 per cent of Ontario’s licensed child care sites have enrolled in the CWELCC system. Families across the province with children in these centres are already seeing fee reductions of up to 25 per cent, retroactive to April 1, 2022. By the end of this year, families with children under the age of six in participating licensed child care programs will see a further fee reduction of up to 50 per cent relative to 2020 levels.
“Access to affordable, high-quality, flexible and inclusive early learning and child care is increasingly becoming a reality for families in Ontario, and across the country,” said Karina Gould, federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. “The fee reduction announced today for centres as part of the Canada-wide system is a key step toward our ultimate goal for an average of $10-a-day regulated child care. We will continue to work with the provinces and territories toward a better future for children, and families, everywhere in Canada.”
Ontario remains committed to the success of the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care system and will continue to work with municipalities and stakeholders across the province to ensure affordable child care is available in communities where it is needed most.
- Ontario’s child care system offers a range of options for families with differing needs, including licensed, unlicensed, for-profit, not-for-profit, centre/school-based and home-based child care.
- To ensure improved access, new child care space allocations will focus on the creation of affordable spaces in communities with children who need them most – rural communities, growth communities, low-income children, vulnerable children, children from diverse communities, children with special needs, Francophone and Indigenous children.
- The Ontario government is streamlining the application process for new child care operators when they apply for a licence. They will learn about their eligibility for child care funding before investing heavily in becoming licensed. The applicants will also have to submit key municipal approvals, including zoning and permitted use, together with their application. This will significantly reduce the time it takes the applicant to acquire a licence.
- Currently, there are more than 5,500 child care centres, 139 licensed home child care agencies, and around 464,000 licensed spaces in Ontario.
- Since 2018, the Ontario government has invested over $1.5 billion in capital projects within the education sector, including 4,908 new, licensed child care spaces within schools. In 2021, the Ontario government invested more than $95 million to create 3,094 more school-based licensed child care spaces for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
- On November 24, 2022, the government announced an expansion to the dual credit program to attract 420 students over two years into Early Childhood Education career pathways.