This paper was commissioned by the City of Toronto to provide background research on child care funding models and to review current early childhood education and care (ECEC) funding arrangements. Its intent is to guide discussions with the province on more flexible funding models intended to ensure the stability, affordability and quality of child care.
The paper describes the City of Toronto's historic leadership in ECEC and its adept approach to public management. It observes that regulated child care in the City of Toronto is now reaching a critical point and that although Toronto has long been known for its effective approach to child care planning and management, the City's capacity to manage the local child care situation is increasingly limited by circumstances beyond its control. The paper concludes that child care funding arrangements in Ontario are neither rational nor functional and should be re-examined. Describing alternative approaches to funding, planning and service organization taken in Canada and elsewhere in some detail, it makes recommendations both for immediate action and for short and medium term reform.