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11.1 Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care


Children's Services Effective Date: April 1, 2022
Topic: Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care System Replaces:NEW
Subject: Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Policy No. F.11.1.  



The Government of Canada has identified child care as a national priority to enhance early learning and childhood development, support workforce participation and contribute to economic recovery.

In 2022, the Governments of Ontario and Canada signed the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) Agreement. Funding under the CWELCC will be used to build and leverage the success of Ontario’s existing early learning and child care system by increasing quality, access, affordability, flexibility and inclusivity in early learning and child care.

The Manitoulin-Sudbury District Service Board (DSB) is committed to ensuring that the CWELCC System is planned and implemented in accordance with the Agreement, Policies and Guidelines through a process that is fair, accountable and transparent.


1. Goals, Objectives, and Purpose

•    Offer financial relief through lower licensed child care fees to families with children under six years old.

•    Strengthen and stabilize the early learning and child care workforce.

•    Create additional high quality and affordable licensed child care spaces.

•    Address barriers to providing inclusive early learning and child care services.

•    To ensure a fair, equitable, transparent, and consistent approach to the implementation of the CWELCC System.

2. Persons or Groups Affected

•    All licensed child care centres and home child care agencies, no matter the Auspice, are eligible to apply for CWELCC, regardless of participation in the local quality initiatives, or current purchase of service status with DSB.

•    Families with children 6 years of age and under residing in the Manitoulin and Sudbury Districts.

3. Restrictions

•    To receive any of the CWELCC funding, the Service Provider must have a fully executed agreement with DSB

•    Service Providers must demonstrate financial viability in order to qualify for funding under the CWELCC System.

•    Service Providers must maintain a clear license to operate and remain in good standing in accordance with the Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA).

•    Service Providers must complete the annual Licensed Child Care Operations Survey, as required by a ministry director.

•    Service Providers participating in the CWELCC System must maintain existing (pre-CWELCC System announcement on March 27, 2022) licensed spaces for children from infancy up to and including 5 years of age. (eg. a licensed infant space must remain an infant space). Any revisions or use of alternate capacity must be reported to the DSB and the DSB shall determine whether this may result in a funding adjustment or recovery from the Service Provider.

•    Funding provided through the CWELCC System is specific to meeting the CWELCC System’s objectives. 

•    Service Providers entering into a new purchase of service agreement for the CWELCC System are not eligible to access 2022 Child Care, EarlyON and Workforce Allocations (with the exception of the Wage Enhancement Grant) if they are not already in receipt of this funding.

Participation in the CWELCC System

•    Participation in the CWELCC System is optional for a Service Provider. The Service Provider will be able to choose to

1-    Opt-In and participate in the CWELCC System, or 
2-    Opt-Out and not participate; operate outside the CWELCC System and continue to operate within the current system.

•    Service Providers who opt-in will need to complete the CWELCC application process within the required timelines.
•    Service Providers who opt-out will not be eligible for CWELCC funds and will not be able to opt-in to the CWELCC System until the next opportunity arises.

CWELCC Application

•    For 2022, Service Providers that wish to enroll in the CWELCC System must complete the CWELCC Application and agree to all terms of application set out in the form by November1st.  

•    The CWELCC System application will be made available to all Service Providers.

Processing CWELCC Applications

•    DSB will review and process the Service Provider’s applications and ensure that the Service Provider is able to make the required parent refunds in a timely fashion.

•    CWELCC applications will be reviewed on an annual basis, in accordance with Policies and Guidelines.

Declining CWELCC Applications

•    In exceptional cases, DSB may deny a Service Provider’s enrollment in the CWELCC System, where the Service Provider is not able to demonstrate financial viability, or if the DSB has strong concerns that the funding will be used for improper purposes.

•    When declining a Service Provider’s CWELCC Application, DSB will provide circumstances and rationale in writing to the Service Provider and Ministry within five (5) business days.

CWELCC Funding Allocation

•    To be eligible for CWELCC funding, Service Providers must apply to the DSB to enroll in the CWELCC System and enter into an CWELCC System Service Agreement with DSB.

•    Service Providers will be permitted a surplus amount to build reserves or re-invest in the organization. 

•    To ensure consistent financial management practices across all Service Providers and that adequate funding is available as Service Providers enroll in the program throughout the year, DSB shall work with Service Providers to manage cost changes to support their continued participation in CWELCC.

•    To support fee reductions in child care for eligible children, CWELCC funding will be provided by DSB to Service Providers to support the Actual Cost associated with a mandated reduction in a Service Provider’s Universal Rates (base rates).

•    Non-Base Fees charged by the Service Provider to parents for things that are not included in the Universal Rates (base rates), as well as their associated costs, will be omitted by DSB when determining the funding amounts to be flowed to enrolled Service Providers (for example: fees for picking up a child late).

•    DSB will ensure that funding provided to Service Providers supports inflationary costs associated with Universal Rates (base rates) for a Service Provider’s child care operations for eligible children, including inflationary compensation increases for staff in accordance with Ministry Guidelines.

•    CWELCC funding amounts (i.e. fee reduction, workforce compensation) to Service Providers will be determined in accordance with Policies, Procedures and Guidelines and at the discretion of DSB.

Determining the Universal Rate (Base Rate)

•    Universal rates have been previously determined using a consistent approach for all Service Providers.

•    Funding allocations that support with the variances between the calculated universal rates and actual parent fee will be paid in accordance with Guidelines and within DSB’s CWELCC Funding allocations.


•    Service Providers may spend up to 10% of the CWELCC System funding received on administration (which includes administration staffing costs and costs for audited financial statements).

•    DSB will review the administration costs for reasonableness as part of the annual reconciliation process.  

Reporting and Reconciliations

•    On an annual basis, the Service Providers are required to reconcile all CWELCC funding entitlements with actual expenditures, in the prescribed format provided by DSB.

•    DSB will collect appropriate and detailed financial and program information from Service Providers related to the operations of child care for eligible children, fee reduction, as well as staff supported with workforce compensation. 

•    DSB will review all financial components including cost and expense line items for reasonability and eligibility, while ensuring that CWELCC System objectives will be achieved.

•    Any adjustments and recoveries of funding will be determined at the discretion of DSB’s CWELCC reconciliation process.

Random Audits and Additional Reports

•    On an annual basis, DSB will conduct random audit/reviews of CWELCC funding to ensure that Service Providers adhere to established Policies and Guidelines as well as the terms and conditions set out in the Agreement with DSB.

•    The Service Provider, for the provision of CWELCC, shall permit DSB to observe and evaluate the distribution of CWELCC funding provided or audit/review the financial records and books of account

•    Any unused or misused CWELCC Funds shall be recovered by DSB.

•    Non-compliant Service Providers may be deemed ineligible to receive future CWELCC funding.


•    DSB will ensure that a dispute resolution process is in place to allow Service Providers to bring forward issues regarding CWELCC System eligibility and funding decisions.

•    DSB will review and respond to the Service Provider’s appeal within thirty (30) business days.

4. Annual Policy Update

This policy will be subject to change based upon the Ministry’s Ontario Child Care and EarlyON Child and Family Service Management Funding Guidelines for Consolidated Municipal Managers and District Social Service Administration Boards and/or municipal/provincial best practices.

5. Definitions

The words and phrases listed below when used in this policy shall have the following meaning ascribed to them:

•    “Agreement” means a service agreement between the DSB and Child Care Service Provider.

•    “Actual Cost” means funding to support the costs incurred in the portion of the Service Providers’ child care business for eligible children, net of fee generated revenues received by the Service Provider from base fees, any provincial and current ELCC funding, municipal funding, and other revenues provided to a Licensee to support the costs associated with base fees for eligible children. 

•    “Auspice” means not-for-profit or for-profit child care agencies and programs;

•    “Universal Rate/Base Rate” means any fee or part of a fee that is charged in respect of a child for child care, including anything a licensee is required to provide under the CCEYA, or anything a Service Provider requires the parent to purchase from the Service Provider, but does not include a non-base fee.

•    “Board” means the Board of Directors of the Manitoulin Sudbury District Services Board
•    “Business Days” means any working day, Monday to Friday inclusive, excluding Statutory or other holidays, namely: New Year’s Day; Family Day; Good Friday; Easter Monday; Victoria Day; Canada Day; Civic Holiday; Labour Day; Thanksgiving Day; Remembrance Day; Christmas Day, Boxing Day and any other day which DSB has elected to be closed for business.

•    “CCEYA” means the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 and its regulations.

•    “CWELCC” means the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care System.

•    “Policies and Guidelines” means the policies and guidelines of the Ministry and DSB, as amended or replaced from time to time.

•    “DSB” means the Manitoulin Sudbury District Services Board.

•    “Eligible Child” means any child under six years old; and up until June 30 in a calendar year, any child who (a) turns six years old between January 1 and June 30 in that calendar year, and (b) is enrolled in a licensed infant, toddler, preschool or kindergarten group, a licensed family age group, or home child care, as defined in the CCEYA.

•    “Funding or Funds” means the money the DSB provides to the Service Provider related to the provisions under the CWELCC System.

•    “Licensed Child Care” means an agency who provides centre based or home child care for one or more children and has a licence issued by the Ministry of Education under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014.

•    “Minimum Wage” means the lowest hourly rate of pay that a Child Care Service Provider can pay an employee.

•    “Ministry” means Ministry of Education for the Province of Ontario or any successor ministry, department or government body.

•    “Non-base fee” means any fees charged for optional items or optional services, such as transportation or field trips, or any fees charged pursuant to an agreement between the parent and the licensee in respect of circumstances where the parent fails to meet the terms of the agreement (e.g. fees for picking up a child late, fees to obtain items that the parent agreed to provide for their child but failed to provide), as defined in the CCEYA. 

•    “Service Provider(s)” means an independent agency providing Licensed Child Care services.

•    “WEG” means Wage Enhancement Grant.

6. References and Related Statements of Policy and Procedures

•    Ontario Child Care and EarlyON Child and Family Centres Service Management and Funding Guideline (2022). (Ministry of Education, updated annually).

•    Child Care and Early Years Act 2014.

•    Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care System Guidelines