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Ontario's early years and child care annual report: The province's systems continues to grow

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Author: 
Ministry of Education
Publication Date: 
25 Oct 2019
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Backgrounder - Ontario's Early Years and Child Care Annual Report is an annual snapshot of Ontario's child care and early years sector. It contains year-over-year trends, and information to better understand the province's early years and child care system.

The report supports child care and early years system planning and it reflects Ontario's commitment to build a flexible system that is accessible, affordable, inclusive and high quality. In addition, the report supports Ontario's commitment under the Canada-Ontario Early Learning and Child Care Agreement to publish its progress. 

A majority of the data released in the 2018-19 Annual Report was collected between March 2018 and March 2019.

Licensed Child Care Spaces

In Ontario, licensed child care is provided in centres and homes, and is delivered by a mix of not-for-profit and for-profit organizations as well as municipalities, school boards and First Nations.

According to the report, Ontario's child care and early years system continued to grow. In 2018-19, the total number of licensed child care spaces grew by more than 19,000 spaces from 427,032 in 2017-18 to 446,596 total spaces in 2018-19. This represents an increase of 5% over the previous year.

All age groups have seen growth in licensed child care spaces. Since 2017-18, the following age groups have increased by the following amounts over the last year:

  • Infant: 871 spaces (7%);
  • Toddler: 2,336 spaces (5%);
  • Preschool: 3,667 spaces (3%);
  • Kindergarten: 4,998 spaces (5%);
  • School age: 7,436 spaces (5%); and
  • Family age group: 256 spaces (158%)

Licensed Child Care Centres

Similarly, in 2018-19, the number of licensed child care centres in Ontario experienced growth. The number of licensed child care centres increased by 86 from 5,437 in 2017-18 to 5,523 in 2018-19. This represents a 2% increase over the previous year.

Not-For-Profit and For-Profit Providers

In 2018-19, the total number of licensed child care spaces grew for both not-for-profit and for-profit providers.

Not-for-profit spaces increased by 15,631 from 337,318 in 2017-18 to 352,949 in 2018-19. For-profit spaces also increased by 3,933 from 89,714 in 2017-18 to 93,647 in 2018-19.

This represents an increase of nearly 5% over the previous year for not-for-profit spaces and 4% over the previous year for for-profit spaces.

Licensed Child Care in Publicly Funded Schools and Communities

In 2018-19, the number of licensed child care centres in publicly funded schools also increased by 46 from 2,944 in 2017-18 to 2,990 in 2018-19. This represents an increase of nearly 2% over the previous year.

Licensed child care spaces in publicly funded schools also increased by 13,579 from 268,469 in 2017-18 to 282,048 in 2018-19. This represents a 5% increase over the previous year.

Licensed child care centres in communities (outside of schools) also increased by 40 from 2,493 in 2017-18 to 2,533 in 2018-19. This represents a 2% increase over the previous year.

Licensed child care spaces in communities (outside of schools) also increased by 5,985, from 158,563 in 2017-18 to 164,548 in 2018-19. This represents a 4% increase over the previous year.

Licensed Home Child Care Agencies

In Ontario, licensed home child care agencies contract with individual caregivers to offer child care in their homes. These providers care for infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children and offer care for school-aged children before and after regular school hours, at lunch and on days when schools are closed.

In 2018-19, the total number of approved homes grew by 140 from 7,783 in 2017-18 to 7,923 in 2018-19. This represents an increase of 2% over the previous year.

As of March 31, 2019, the total number of licensed home child care agencies grew by 2, from 122 in 2017-18, to 124 in 2018-19. This represents an increase of nearly 2% over the previous year.

Two home child care agencies were operated by First Nations, with a maximum of 31 approved homes. A total of 3,918 homes were deemed to be "active homes".

French-language and Bilingual Licensed Child Care

Some licensed child care centres offer services in French, or in both English and French. In 2018-19, of the 5,523 licensed child care centres in Ontario:

  • 310 (an increase of 3%) offered programs in French; and
  • 88 (an increase of 10%) offered bilingual programs.

Of the 446,596 licensed child care spaces in Ontario:

  • 33,149 (an increase of 6%) were for programs in French; and
  • 6,120 (an increase of 5%) were for bilingual programs.
press release
Entered Date: 
30 Oct 2019
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