Today, the Ontario government continues its support for families and children by re-introducing the Child Care Modernization Act, 2014.
The legislation, if passed, would strengthen oversight of the province's unlicensed child care sector, while increasing access to licensed child care options for families. In addition, it would allow the province to immediately shut down a child care provider when a child's safety is at risk.
The proposed legislation would also:
- Give the province 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.
- Increase the number of children a licensed home-based child care provider can care for from five to six.
- 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.
- Clarify the requirement that all private schools that care for more than five children under the age of four must be licensed.
- Amend the Education Act to require school boards to ensure before-and after-school programs are available to six- to12 year-olds, where there is sufficient demand.
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.
- Starting in 2012-13, Ontario is providing $346 million over four years to help stabilize and modernize the child care system.
- Since 2003, the province has increased funding for child care by 90 per cent - to more than $1 billion annually.
- By September 2014, full-day kindergarten will be available to all four- and five-year-olds in Ontario - benefitting approximately 265,000 children.
- The Child Care Modernization Act would also authorize the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to assign Ontario Education Numbers (OEN) and permit the sharing of performance data between the ministry and the Ministry of Education, allowing Ontario to track and measure student performance from the early years through post-secondary education. This change was originally part of Bill 151, the Strengthening and Improving Government Act.