As of Tuesday, November 1, 94 per cent of licensed childcare service provider sites in Ottawa have opted-in to the new Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care system in Ottawa. Approximately 21,000 eligible children will benefit this year from a fee reduction of up to 25 per cent, retroactive to Friday, April 1, 2022. For 2023, funding will be provided to reduce parent fees by a further 37 per cent to a floor of $12 per day equating to an average of 50 per cent fee reduction based on 2020 average fees.
Contribution agreements with eligible service providers continue to be completed following the application period and funding is rapidly being issued so that families will see an immediate benefit and fee reduction of up to 25 per cent, retroactive to Friday, April 1, 2022. While some families have already received their fee reductions, depending on when a service provider agrees to the contribution agreement, fee reductions and refunds to families will continue throughout November and December.
The City’s Municipal Child Care Centres have opted-in to the new system further to Council direction. Fee reductions, credits and / or refunds for both 2022 and 2023 are estimated to be completed by the end of the year.
Benefits for families
Staff continue to prioritize the development of this new system to ensure families are supported and will benefit from more affordable childcare. No action is required from eligible families to receive a childcare fee reduction. Service providers must have notified their families and staff about their intent to enrol in the Canada-Wide system by Tuesday, November 1. Families with eligible children enrolled with a participating service provider will receive fee reductions of up to 25 per cent of fees paid for eligible children, retroactive to Friday, April 1, 2022. Fee subsidy families will also receive a similar fee reduction on their parental contribution directly from the City of Ottawa. For 2023, families with eligible children will receive a reduction of fees by a further 37 per cent to a floor of $12 per day equating to an average of 50 per cent fee reduction based on 2020 average fees. Families are encouraged to speak with their service provider should they have any questions.
Children’s Services will make updates to the Child Care Registry and Waitlist in November to inform and help families navigate the system in finding service providers who are participating in/ the Canada-Wide system.
Children’s Services was pleased to receive the Tuesday, October 18 Provincial memo outlining further details for 2023 to assist with internal planning. Staff are currently awaiting further details required to begin implementation, such as the 2023 Provincial guidelines and funding allocations, which are estimated to be received in November. For years beyond 2023, the Province is working on the development of a new Child Care Funding Formula that aims to integrate the current approach for allocating child care funds with the new Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care system, in order to support the need for clarity and transparency.
The Province is currently consulting with the childcare sector in order to inform a cost-based funding approach and will be looking to release and implement the revised formula for 2024. While these affordability aspects will benefit existing families greatly, staff are also expecting to see increased demand and wait lists for childcare spaces with future Provincial phases and as the systems expands. This is a significant transformation for the sector as we continue to strengthen the system. As a Consolidated Service System Manager, Children’s Services will continue to play a key role, in consultation with valued sector partners and local families, on the phased transformational work ahead. This includes working directly with the Province through many consultations to support the development of future phases and funding formulas intended to promote greater equitability, predictability, transparency and responsiveness of the childcare and early years system. In addition, the Province is developing a growth and inclusion framework to support space expansion, prioritizing the needs of families who face various systemic barriers including, Indigenous, Francophone, Black and other racialized residents, newcomers, sole support parents, families living with low-income and children with special needs. Once additional information is received, Children’s Services will use data from the Council-approved Child Care Service System Plan to help inform the Province’s growth and inclusion framework.
This is a period of transition across the province, and Children’s Services remains committed to working with families and the childcare sector in the next steps of this significant transformation. Our City’s Child Care Service Plan is in alignment with the new Canada-Wide system and has the vision to unite all levels of government in collaboration with our sector partners to ensure children have the best start in life.
Families can explore childcare options in the community by visiting Apply for childcare | City of Ottawa and reaching out to service providers directly to inquire if they are participating in the new Canada-Wide system or for further information on their programing. Children’s Services will make updates to the Child Care Registry and Waitlist in November to inform and help families navigate the system in finding service providers who are participating in the Canada-Wide system.