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  • News
  • April 06, 2018

More Child Care, More Choice for Families in Cambridge

Ontario Providing Free Preschool Child Care for Children Aged 2.5 to Kindergarten

Ontario is making full-day licensed child care free for preschool children from the age of two-and-a-half until they are eligible to start kindergarten, beginning in 2020. Free preschool child care will save families an estimated $17,000 per child, allow parents to go back to work when they choose and help give children the best start in life.

Kathryn McGarry MPP for Cambridge was at Peekaboo Childcare on Sheldon Drive in Cambridge to talk about how Ontario’s new investment of $2.2 billion over three years will expand access to affordable child care for families in Cambridge and across the province, ease the financial burden families are facing in our changing economy, and deliver free licensed child care for children from the age of two-and-a-half until kindergarten, beginning in 2020.

Early learning has been demonstrated to improve a child’s academic performance throughout their lives. Improved access to child care gives parents, especially women, more choice about when they return to work and will help Ontario close the gender wage gap. This historic change to the way child care is delivered in the province follows advice economist Dr. Gordon Cleveland put forward in his report Affordable For All: Making Licensed Child Care Affordable in Ontario, and is informed by an extensive in-person and online consultation process with thousands of parents, educators and child care professionals across Ontario.

Making full-day child care free for families with preschool-aged children is part of the government’s plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change.


“Making early years care more affordable, and giving parents, particularly women, that choice to go back to work when they feel ready is a key part of achieving gender equality and closing the gender wage gap, which benefits our economy.”
–– Kathryn McGarry, MPP Cambridge

“Free child care for preschool aged children is an incredible support for Ontario children and families. This historic commitment will save Ontario families thousands of dollars annually and give parents peace of mind. Ontario is committed to creating a high quality child care system that is accessible and affordable for all families. This major investment will build on the progress we’ve made with a made-in-Ontario solution that supports children and families. It's a historic investment that will benefit Ontario kids for generations.” 
— Indira Naidoo-Harris, Minister of Education and Minister Responsible for Early Years and Child Care


  • Ontario is making an overall new investment of $2.2 billion over three years in child care, which includes over $930 million in 2020-21 to make licensed preschool child care free for kids from the age of 2.5 until they are eligible for kindergarten, beginning in September 2020.
  • As part of the overall investment, Ontario is increasing operating funding across the child care system by an additional $162.5 million over three years to increase access to licensed child care, support fee reductions, and reduce or eliminate fee-subsidy waitlists.
  • This investment includes $90 million in 2018-19 to support continued expansion of child care for children ages 0 to 4 years, including $53 million to create approximately 4,200 fee subsidies and $26 million to establish base funding for home child care.
  • A two year, $30 million innovation fund will seek solutions to chronic issues in child care, including ways to extend child care hours to ease anxiety and stress for parents who work long hours, shifts or are in precarious work situations.
  • Since 2012–13, the number of licensed child care spaces in Ontario has grown to more than 406,000 — a 38 per cent increase.
  • As of September 1, 2016, licensed child care centres and home child care agencies may no longer charge parents fees to have their child placed on a wait list.


Creating More Child Care Spaces

Child Care in Ontario

EarlyON Child and Family Centres

Renewed Early Years and Child Care Policy Framework

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