The Ontario government is investing $600,000 to create 39 child care spaces at St Edmunds Public School in Tobermory to help working families in Northern Bruce Peninsula.
Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker announced the investment at the school on January 27. Walker was joined by officials from the Bluewater School Board including Board Chair Jane Thomson, Northern Bruce Peninsula Mayor Milt McIver, Bruce County Warden Janice Jackson and officials from Tobermory Primary Place. The investment is part of the provincial government’s commitment to supporting affordable and accessible child care in communities across the province.
Once complete, the project will provide one toddler room and one preschool room through the province’s Early Years Capital Program.
“This is terrific news for the entire community in Northern Bruce Peninsula and Tobermory. We have been waiting a long time for this news and I want to thank Minister of Education Stephen Lecce for his support in making this project a reality,” said Walker. “The COVID-19 outbreak has reminded us how important schools and child care are to students, parents and families, across the province. They are the heartbeat of our communities. They bring people together for the shared experience of learning.”
The expansion at St. Edmunds Public School in Bluewater District School Board (BWDSB) is part of a province-wide investment of more than $600 million to support school and child care spaces that were recently announced by Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. The overall investment will support 78 school and child care related projects. As part of this investment, the province dedicated more than $95 million to create more than 3,000 new child care spaces through renovations and additions at 55 child care centres across Ontario. The investment will provide families with more options for their children.
“We are thrilled that the Ministry of Education has recognized the need for sustainable child care to better serve local families on the Bruce Peninsula through the investment of funding to create 39 new child care spaces at St. Edmunds Public School,” said Jane Thomson, BWDSB Chair and Trustee for the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula/Town of South Bruce Peninsula. “Many thanks are owed to the ministry and MPP Bill Walker for supporting the long-term child care needs of the community, and our municipal partners at the County of Bruce and Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula for their hard work during this process. We look forward to the beginning of a long and rewarding partnership with the volunteers and staff of Tobermory Primary Place, and warmly welcome them to our school community. The addition of a modernized child care environment for our youngest learners and future students will benefit families on the peninsula for years to come.”
Across Ontario, the province is supporting the creation of 40 infant rooms (400 new spaces), 59 toddler rooms (885 new spaces), 71 preschool rooms (1,704 new spaces), and seven family age group rooms (105 new spaces).
The announcement supports Ontario’s child care plan which focuses on making child care more affordable, providing more choice and availability for families, reducing red tape and administrative burden, improving quality, and effectively delivering high standards of care.
“After years of neglect under the previous government, we are stepping up to support families by investing in affordable and accessible child care that meets their needs,” said Minister Lecce. “These investments are key to our economic recovery and further evidence of how our government continues to lead the way when it comes to investing in child care.”
As part of this plan to make child care affordable, safe and accessible, Ontario has committed up to $1 billion to create up to 30,000 new child care spaces over five years. To date, over 23,000 new spaces have been approved and builds upon Ontario’s existing and well-established child care infrastructure giving families more choices and flexibility.
On November 4, the province released the 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: Build Ontario. The plan lays out how the government will build the foundation for Ontario’s recovery and prosperity by getting shovels in the ground on projects like new schools and child care.
Since 2018, the Ontario government has invested over $1.5 billion in capital projects in education, including 76 new schools, 75 additions and renovations to existing facilities and 4,908 new licensed child care places.
For 2021-22, the province is also providing school boards with $1.4 billion in funding to renew and maintain existing schools.
The governments of Canada and Ontario are providing $656.5 million in funding for critical infrastructure projects to protect students and staff from COVID-19 in the province’s schools through the COVID-19 Resilience stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
The federal government provides 2.5 per cent of the total cost support for early learning and child care operating expenses in Ontario, with Ontario families, the provincial and municipal governments providing the remainder.
Ontario has provided emergency child care for the school-aged children of frontline workers, including public safety and health care workers, as well as those working with vulnerable populations, at no out-of-pocket cost. In 2021, at its peak, this program provided over 12,000 children with high-quality child care each day across 717 sites province-wide.
Ontario is providing a 20 per cent enhancement of the Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses (CARE) tax credit for 2021. This will increase support from $1,250 to $1,500 per family, on average, providing about $75 million in additional support for the 2021 child care expenses of over 300,000 families.