Message from the Honourable Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education, and the Honourable Indira Naidoo-Harris, Associate Minister of Education (Early Years and Child Care)
We are in the midst of a historic transformation in child care and early years education in Ontario. While we have already accomplished a great deal with your help, there is still more work to do. We want you to know we are excited about the journey ahead.
We are honoured to have been asked by Premier Kathleen Wynne to serve Ontario in our important roles. Like you, we are passionate about education, child care, and the early years. And we are dedicated to helping our government build a high-quality, accessible and affordable early years and child care system that promotes healthy development for children and supports options and flexibility for parents.
Since we began our plan to modernize our child care and early years system, we have made substantial investments in our children’s future – and the future of Ontario. This includes: enacting new, ground-breaking legislation and regulations to replace the Day Nurseries Act, rolling out Full-Day Kindergarten across the province, increasing child care spaces, expanding before-and-after-school care and integrating the province’s child and family support programs. The College of Early Childhood Educators and its members have been key partners in delivering on these important initiatives.
We are investing in our system by investing in the talented and dedicated people who make it great. One example is our investment of $269 million to support a wage increase for registered early childhood educators and other child care professionals in licensed child care settings.
However, to maintain our momentum of positive change, we will need a Renewed Child Care and Early Years Policy Framework to guide our upcoming work.
As part of this renewed plan, our government is committed to creating 100,000 new licensed child care spaces for children under four, within five years, and developing a renewed framework for child care and the early years. We made this historic commitment in the recent 2016 Speech from the Throne – the government’s ‘Balanced Plan to Build Ontario Up For Everyone’.
We believe this commitment to create 100,000 new licensed child care spaces will help more working families find quality, affordable care. It will help support parent choice and flexibility, while promoting the overall healthy development of our children. It will give our kids the best start in life and it will increase the need for more qualified early childhood educators and child care staff.
To make this plan a reality, we will be engaging with registered early childhood educators, our sector partners, experts, and the public to inform the renewed policy framework and expansion strategy. Our engagement strategy is comprehensive and multi-faceted. It includes regional sessions across the province, town hall gatherings, a discussion paper, and meetings with stakeholders.
We are both pleased to be a part of our government’s transformative plan for Ontario’s youngest learners – because we know a child’s development in their early years has a direct impact on the rest of their life. It puts our children on a path to success.
Our system is strong today because of people like you who have dedicated themselves to their profession, caring for our youngest and most vulnerable learners. You help our children grow and develop skills that prepare them for their journey through education. You keep them happy, safe, and healthy and give parents valuable peace of mind each and every day.
Thank you again for your commitment and dedication, and we look forward to working with you, as we give all children in Ontario the best possible start in life.