Today Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that full-day licensed child care will become 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.
The Premier was joined today at Nelson Mandela Park Public School in Toronto by Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance, and Indira Naidoo-Harris, Minister of Education and Minister Responsible for Early Years and Child Care, to talk about how Ontario's new investment of $2.2 billion over three years will expand access to affordable child care 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. The plan includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions and easier access to affordable child care.
“Not being able to find or afford child care is stressful, it is troubling, and it is holding families back at a time when it’s already hard enough to get ahead. Our plan to make preschool child care free for Ontario children from the age of two-and-a-half until kindergarten will relieve that pressure and make sure kids are learning and growing in a safe environment. We listened to parents, educators and child care providers across the province, and they’ve told us this move is the right one to make. I know how stressful it can be for parents with young children. When my three kids were little, I worried about whether they were getting the right start. This investment will make life more affordable for families and allow more parents to make the choice to go back to work, knowing their child is safe and cared for.”
“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.”
“Free preschool provides both economic and social benefits for our province. It saves families $17,000 per child and gives parents the opportunity to go back to work sooner. Most importantly, these investments ensure all kids get the best possible start in life.”
“Making child care free for preschool children will be transformative for Ontario's families; it will help families balance the demands of work, education and family life, and will dramatically improve affordability, especially for children in low and middle income families.”
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