The Child Care Modernization Act, 2014, will strengthen oversight of the province’s unlicensed child care sector and increase access to licensed child care options for families. In addition, it will allow the province to immediately shut down a child care provider when a child’s safety is at risk.
The Child Care Modernization Act also:
- Gives the province the authority to issue administrative penalties of up to $100,000 per infraction by a child care provider.
- Increases the maximum penalty for illegal offences under the act from $2,000 to $250,000.
- Increases the number of children a licensed home-based child care provider can care for from five to six.
- Clarifies what programs and activities are exempt from licensing requirements, including care provided by relatives, babysitters, nannies and camps that provide programs for school-age children.
- Requires all private schools that care for more than five children under the age of four to be licensed as a child care centre.
- Amends the Education Act to ensure school boards offer before- and after-school programs for 6 to12 year-olds where there is sufficient demand.
The legislation builds on steps that Ontario has already taken to improve oversight of child care. This includes the creation of a dedicated enforcement team to investigate complaints against unlicensed providers, as well as an online searchable registry – paired with a toll-free number – to inquire about unlicensed child care violations.
Ensuring families have access to safe, modern child care is part of the government’s economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people’s talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.
- Since 2003, access to licensed child care has grown by more than 130,000 spaces.
- There are 5,069 licensed child care centres in the province with a total capacity of 317,868 spaces; 166,429 of those spaces are in publicly funded schools.
- Starting in 2014-15, the government is investing an additional $33.6 million, over three years, to support the ongoing operation and modernization of the child care system –protecting the gains made through the previously announced investment of $346 million over four years.
- Since 2003-04, the government has doubled child care funding to more than $1 billion annually.
- Since September 2014, full-day kindergarten has been available across Ontario to all four- and five-year olds, approximately 265,000 children.