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Moving forward on early learning and child care: Agreement-in-principle between the government of Canada and the government of Ontario

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Government of Canada & Government of Ontario
government document
Publication Date: 
6 May 2005

Excerpts from the Agreement:

The Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario have developed this Agreement to articulate their shared vision for early learning and child care and to describe specific objectives and investments to achieve this vision. At the same time, Ontario commits to participating with its federal, provincial and territorial partners in a multilateral process to create an overarching early learning and child care framework for all Canadians, which meets the unique circumstances and priorities of each jurisdiction.

Ontario's vision for families with young children is articulated through its Best Start Plan, announced in November 2004.

The vision of Best Start is:

Children in Ontario will be ready and eager to achieve success in school by the time they start Grade 1. Best Start is a comprehensive, evidence-based early learning and care strategy designed to provide Ontario's children with the best possible start in life and help them to achieve success in school. Best Start represents a major redesign of services in terms of how children and families are supported from the prenatal stage through to Grade 1. It is a partnership with parents and families that will:

- Enhance existing services and introduce innovative approaches to healthy child development and early learning and care;
- Help parents to help their children be successful in school; and
- Bring community services together in a comprehensive, flexible and seamless way so children and parents can access them at familiar neighbourhood locations.

Best Start is ambitious and will take at least ten years to implement. Funding to support Best Start will build on existing provincial investments as well as the funding outlined in this agreement. Ontario will begin with the following key steps:

- A major expansion of child care with priority placed on children enrolled in Junior and Senior Kindergarten across the province during the non-school hours and the summer months in order to provide a full day of early learning and care;
- Quality improvements in the regulated early learning and child care system; and
- Implementation of the full Best Start vision in three demonstration communities in the province.

This Agreement will help the province achieve its early learning and child care objectives within the Best Start Plan.