Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care - Memo

Association of Municipalities Ontario
Office of the President

Sent by e-mail to:

January 29, 2024

The Honourable Stephen Lecce
Minister of Education
5th Floor
438 University Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2A5

Dear Minister Lecce,

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) is concerned about the government’s decision to eliminate the transitional grant to municipal child care service system managers. This will directly result in inadequate system planning resources that are needed to successfully implement and sustain core services through the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) program for Ontario. Transitional funding is required now more than ever when the Ontario system is currently in ‘transition’ to a more publicly funded and affordable child care system.

The changes to administrative funding will create significant challenges for the provincial program on a systems level. Service managers are in a tenuous position given that they are required to implement CWELCC and transform the existing system, with a $13.2B Federal allocation to Ontario over 6 years, with reduced resources and increasing system planning requirements.

In addition, there will be intensive work with operators required in 2024 to implement the new funding formula. Without adequate funding to plan, manage and deliver services, priorities will need to be set on what can be delivered, resulting in uneven implementation across the province and families experiencing differential access to service.

This decision comes as a surprise and was made without prior consultation last year. In April 2022, a memo from the Ministry of Education stated that “Administrative funding will be restored, as we recognize this is not the time to implement the previously announced funding cuts”. This was an indication of a change in course. Based on the amount of the now expired transitional grant funding, there will be an additional unsustainable pressure to the sector, with a fiscal impact of at least $85.5 million annually, and escalating over time.
Our understanding is that the Federal-Ontario bilateral agreement allows for up to 10% of the allocation of CWELCC funding to go towards administration. The current funding does not reflect the scope, complexity, and number of processes and transactions expected of service managers and it effectively transfers financial costs and risk to them. Service managers need to be supported with adequate and appropriate funding, tools, and other resources to realize the success of the CWLECC implementation.
The government must restore the funding in full. An examination of the need for increasing service system planning resources must also be included the Program Review in 2024 to determine what is needed going forward.

AMO and our members are committed to working with the Province to implement a strong child care system that meets the needs of families and supports a robust economy. We strongly urge the government to reconsider the implementation of these changes. AMO would like to discuss this matter with you as soon as possible, as well as a broader conversation about the CWLECC implementation plan.

Colin Best
AMO President and Councillor, Region of Halton

cc:The Honourable Paul Calandra, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Kate Manson-Smith, Deputy Minister,               Ministry of Education
     Martha Greenberg, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Henry Wall, President, Ontario                     Municipal Social Services Association (OMSSA)
     Michelle Boileau, Chair, Northern Ontario Service Deliverers Association (NOSDA)
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