In a bid to address mounting concerns from child care operators, Ontario has unveiled a timeline for a revamped funding formula under the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) program. The move comes after multiple delays by the government and persistent warnings from operators about the program’s sustainability without adequate funding approaches.

The government’s current revenue replacement model, based on outdated fee rates, has fallen short of meeting the evolving needs of child-care providers, with concerns raised about rising expenses such as staffing, rent, and supplies.

The new funding model, now expected to take effect in 2025, aims to address these concerns by transitioning to a cost-based approach with further details coming soon.

Amidst this anticipation, child care operators and advocates express cautious optimism about the forthcoming revised funding model. 

“It has certainly been a long time in coming, which, again, I hope means that they’ve taken the time to get it right, because I think that’s what’s really important at this point, that we have a solid funding scheme for child-care programs so that we do see some stability in the sector,” said Carolyn Ferns, policy coordinator for the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care.

The call for stability and reliability in funding remains a priority for operators and advocates alike. They emphasize the need for a solid funding framework that not only covers legitimate costs to keep programs operational but also incentivizes the provision of high quality services, particularly in underserved areas, and facilitates future expansion to meet growing demand.

In anticipation of the release of a new funding approach, the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care and the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario have published a policy brief by Dr. Gordon Cleveland that outlines what a new Ontario child care funding formula should do in order to be successful. 

This brief summarizes what elements should be considered, what options exist, and how to evaluate the efficacy of any new Ontario funding proposal. This document will help inform the community’s evaluative processes, feedback and further refinements to Ontario’s forthcoming funding approach.

Read the policy brief here