Backgrounder: Canada-Ontario Early Learning and Child Care Agreement


On June 12, 2017, federal, provincial, and territorial Ministers Responsible for Early Learning and Child Care signed the Multilateral Framework on Early Learning and Child Care, which represents a significant milestone with governments agreeing to work together to address some of the key early learning and child care issues across the country. Governments agreed to work together over time to achieve the broad long terms goals for early learning and child care systems that are focused on: high quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility and inclusivity.

This Framework will be supported by a federal investment of $7.5 billion over 11 years to support early learning and child care programs – including $100 million for Indigenous-specific early learning and child care.  This investment will support and create more high-quality, affordable child care spaces across the country which will support ELCC improvements in Canada consistent with the principles agreed to in the Multilateral Framework.

The federal government and the Government of Ontario have signed a bilateral agreement and action plan on Early Learning and Child Care as another step towards delivering affordable, high-quality, flexible and fully inclusive child care for Ontario children.  Through the signing of this bilateral agreement the Government of Ontario will receive $435 million over the next three years.

In Ontario, these investments will help lay a solid foundation on which to build high-quality, accessible, affordable, flexible, and inclusive early learning and child care systems for the future by increasing access, affordability and inclusivity to high quality child care with consideration for families more in need, such as lower-income families; Indigenous families; lone-parent families; families in underserved communities; those working non-standards hours; and/or families with children with varying abilities.

By the end of the three year agreement, this funding will support approximately 11,200 children through additional fee subsidies or equivalent financial supports for families more in need; up to 100 new Ontario Early Years Child and Family Centres; up to 100,000 more child and family visit to the Ontario Early Years Child and Family Centres; and approximately 175 full-time and/or part-time students supported annually to complete their Early Childhood Education diploma. Ontario will closely monitor service provision of child care and early learning programs for diverse populations, including but not limited to children from French and English linguistic minority communities, Indigenous people off-reserve, as well as in low- and middle-income neighborhoods. These funds will also improve the quality of early learning opportunities, with consideration for those more in need.

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