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Canada-Wide Early Learning Child Care System - Issue Report

Report To:  Program Planning Committee

From: Lori Clark, Director of Integrated Human Services and Amy Ingram, Integrated Human Services Manager

Date: September 20, 2022

Re: Canada -Wide Early Learning and Child Care System (CWELCC)

Purpose

To update the Board on the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care System and the impact of said changes to the licensed childcare sector in the Manitoulin-Sudbury District.

Background

Further to the verbal update provided to the Board in April, it was announced on March 28, 2022 that the Government of Ontario signed a new Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) Agreement with the Government of Canada. 

On April 12, 2022, Amended Guidelines were received, and further updated CWELCC Guidelines were received on August 17, 2022. The updated Guidelines provided clarity and further assist with implementation of the system across the province.

The CWELCC agreement will lower fees for parents and provide more accessible and high-quality childcare for Ontario families. Ontario’s plan will deliver $10 per day childcare, on average, by September 2025.

Administrative funding will be restored, from previously announced funding cuts. For 2023 and beyond the ministry aims to allocate funding using a revised childcare funding formula, details of the funding formula have yet to be released. 

Participation in CWELCC

All Service Providers with programs serving children under the age of 6 (or turning 6 before June 30) are eligible to apply to participate in the CWELCC System. Existing Service Providers must advise their Service System Manager by November 1, 2022, of their intention to participate in the CWELCC System. Service Providers that choose not to participate may continue to operate under the existing provincial licensing and regulatory framework and purchase of service agreements with their local Service System Manager. Service Providers that are not part of the CWELCC System will not receive CWELCC System funding and may continue to set their own parent fees. 

Service Providers will be required to meet the following conditions to participate:
• Be in receipt of an existing or new purchase of service agreement with the Service System Manager 
• Demonstrate financial viability
• Maintain the childcare fees unless a fee increase was communicated to families/parents prior to the announcement of the CWELCC System on March 28, 2022.  
• Maintain existing licensed spaces for ages 0-5 (pre-CWELCC announcement on March 28, 2022). Service Providers may not convert existing 0-5 spaces to other age groups.

CWELCC Overview

CWELCC focuses on the following key areas: affordability, access, quality, and inclusion.

Fee Reduction

A graduated approach to fee reduction as follows:
• A fee reduction of up to 25% (to a minimum of $12 per day) for eligible children retroactive to April 1, 2022
• A 50% daily fee reduction on average for eligible children by the end of calendar year 2022
• $10 average daily childcare fees for eligible children by end of 2025. 

Fee Subsidy Parental Contribution Reduction

To ensure an equivalent fee reduction for families receiving childcare fee subsidy who pay a parental contribution, amendments have been made under O. Reg 138/15. The amendments require Service System Managers to reduce by 25% the parental contribution for eligible children who hold a spot with a licensed program that has enrolled in the CWELCC System. Service System Managers will calculate the parental contribution reduction for fee subsidy families and provide the Service Provider with the parental contribution refund amount.

Workforce Compensation

Workforce compensation funding is available to eligible staff employed by Service Providers regardless of the age of the children they are supporting. 

Eligible staff categories will have their hourly wage increased to align with the wage floor and will be eligible for an annual increase, including staff in licensed before and after school programs for 6-12 years.

Role of Service System Managers

CMSMs/DSSABs will continue their role as the designated childcare and early years’ Service System Managers responsible for planning and managing licensed childcare services and EarlyON Child and Family Centres. 

CMSM’s/DSSABs will continue to support access to childcare for families through the existing fee subsidy model based on the provincial fee subsidy income test. 

To support the CWELCC System, this role will include entering into a CWELCC System Service Agreement with all Service Providers who choose to participate in the CWELCC System and meet provincial eligibility criteria. 

Planning to Date

The Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board established a universal rate structure in 2013, all families in our district pay the same amount for licensed childcare regardless of where they live, therefore the rate change calculations are straightforward.

Additionally, we have been collecting both subsidized and full fee data from Service Providers. Reconciliation for parent rebates and fee reduction to Service Providers will also be straightforward and ensure CWELCC funding is being used appropriately.

All Service Providers in the Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board intend opt-in to the CWELCC System. Applications have been received from the majority of Service Providers in the district and have been formally approved for enrolment effective September 12, 2022. CWELCC System Service Agreements were shared with Service Providers who have opted-in and ratified effective August 29, 2022. Service Providers enrolled in the System have agreed to drop their rates effective October 1, 2022, to ensure consistency of rates across the Manitoulin-Sudbury District and for ease of reconciliation.

Service Providers in the Manitoulin-Sudbury District will not require workforce compensation funding in 2022. We will undertake a further assessment for 2023 to determine eligibility for this funding.

The Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Boards received funding in the amount of $559,977 distributed as follows:

•Fee Reduction                     $435, 048
•Workforce Compensation    $ 43, 492
•Administration                      $ 81, 437

The fee reduction funding will be sufficient to issue rebates to parents and support Service Providers with fee reductions. There is no municipal cost sharing requirement for these funds. Any unused or misused CWELCC Funds shall be recovered by Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board and returned to the Ministry of Education. 

The Manitoulin-Sudbury DSB is expected to establish policies and procedures to facilitate the CWELCC System. The following Policies have been created/revised:

•F.11.1 CWELCC Policy
•F.5.2  Rates & Care Codes

Conclusion

The Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board is in the early stages of implementation of the CWELCC System. Staff will continue to prioritize affordability, access, quality, and inclusion and will provide ongoing updates to the Board. Staff recommend that the Board accept the CWELCC issue report as presented and approve the new and revised policies.