The government's commitment to giving Ontario's youngest students the best start to their education will ensure all children start with the same firm footing. It will also help build the foundation for a strong workforce and economy.
The government continues to build on its vision for an integrated early years program and services that meet the needs of Ontario's children and parents. The Ontario Early Years Policy Framework focuses on ensuring that children from birth to age six have the best possible start in life, through such measures as the successful implementation of full-day kindergarten and protection of the child care system.
In September 2012, full-day kindergarten was available in 1,700 schools, benefiting 122,000 children, and next fall the program will reach about 184,000 children in 2,600 schools across Ontario. When fully implemented in September 2014, the program will be available to all of Ontario's four- and five-year-olds, or approximately 265,000 children.
In the 2012 Budget, the government announced additional funding of $90 million in 2012-13, $68 million in 2013-14 and $84 million in 2014-15 to support child care operators, parents and children to seamlessly transition into full-day kindergarten. This has been an important part of the early years vision. The government is announcing an additional $39 million in 2015-16 to support the child care system.
As part of the initiatives to modernize the child care sector, a new funding formula and funding framework were recently implemented. These new tools will allocate provincial child care funds in a way that better responds to service demands and will allow municipalities to better manage the system at the local level.
More support for low-income families: Ontario government proposes increase in child benefit, Government of Ontario news release, 6 May 13
Child Care Missing from Ontario Budget, Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care
Ontario Budget 2013: Four More Years of Austerity, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Budget 2013: Strong steps forward but still missing the target, Campaign 2000 Ontario
Ontario budget: Key facts and highlights, CBC News, 2 May 13
Austerity is holding back Ontario's economy, Toronto Star, 20 Mar 13