The provincial and federal governments have signed a $13.2 billion agreement that will lower fees for families and deliver an average of $10 a day child care by September 2025.
As a first step, all Ontario families with children five years old and younger in participating licensed child care centres will see their fees reduced, up to 25 per cent, to a minimum of $12 per day, retroactive to April 1, 2022.
In December 2022, parents will see another reduction. In total, fees for families will be reduced in 2022, on average, by 50 per cent, relieving parents of $1.1 billion in child care costs.
Families will see further fee reductions in September 2024, culminating in a final reduction to an average of $10-a-day child care by September 2025.
“Given how complex Ontario’s child care system is, we wanted to get this right,” Premier Doug Ford said. “Today, we’re delivering a deal that will keep money in the pockets of hard-working parents.”
Additionally, this agreement supports the creation of 86,000 more licensed child care spaces to address increasing demand, including more than 15,000 licensed child care spaces created since 2019. To maintain the province’s high quality of child care, the agreement also supports the recruitment of new early childhood educators, stable compensation for all Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs) working in licensed child care, including RECEs providing child care for children six to 12 years old.
“We have secured a deal for Ontario families that will significantly reduce child care costs for working moms and dads, and that starts today,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce said. “We were able to deliver a deal for Ontario families that includes billions in additional funding and a longer agreement that respects parents and provides financial support for families.”
To support the child care sector in implementing these new measures, and to ensure the costs of inflation are covered, Ontario is investing $395 million to ensure RECEs for the 6-12 age group benefit from the wage increases committed to RECEs for the 0-5 age group, as the federal program does not extend support to workers or children age 6-12.
To ensure a sustainable future that protects Ontario taxpayers and puts parents first, the Canada-Ontario agreement also ensures that the cost of implementing the agreement will continue to be monitored by Canada and Ontario with automatic review in year three of the agreement (2024-25). This automatic review mechanism is the first of its kind in any child care agreement in Canada.
Ontario will work with municipalities to enroll over 5,000 licensed child care centres and home child care agencies in the new program between now and September 1. Rebates to parents, retroactive to April 1, will begin in May, and will follow the enrolment of licensed centres and agencies into the new system.
Ontario families will continue to benefit from the province’s child care tax credit program, which remains in effect. This program provides an estimated 300,000 families with up to 75 per cent of their eligible expenses for licensed and unlicensed child care in centres, home-based care, camps and other settings.
Ontario’s agreement also recognizes its unique position of having the largest child care aged population in Canada and complements the province’s world-class, fully-funded, full-day kindergarten program for four- and five-year-olds. Over the course of the agreement, Ontario will be investing $21.6 billion in full-day kindergarten. Together, through the Ontario Child Care Tax Credit (CARE), affordable child care options, and all-day kindergarten, Ontario parents are provided with a full array of options, benefits and supports for early years and child care.