An AI-created illustration - surreal in style of children and space targets.

What’s all this talk about space targets?  Here’s what we know

The Ministry of Education Early Years and Child Care Divisions’ first memo about “notional space targets” came out on December 19, 2022. Under the CWELCC agreement, Ontario has been funded to support the creation of 86,000 new licensed child care spaces (relative to 2019), by December 2026. Since 2019, 33,000 new spaces have become operational leaving 53,000 spaces to be created between 2022 and 2026.

Improving Access Related to Equity

The ministry set out a model (Access and Inclusion Framework 2022) for how the spaces have been distributed across the 47 CMSMs and DSSABs. The majority of funding for spaces is allocated based on improving access to child care as it relates to equity. The goal is that across the province 37% of children birth to 5 years will have access to a child care space.

Additionally, funding for a portion of spaces has been allocated based on 5 socio-economic factors including;

  1. children birth to 5 in lone parent families;
  2.  low income measure (with children age 0-5); 
  3. household spending >30% of income on shelter costs; 
  4. recent immigrants, 2011-2016; 
  5. women age 25 to 44 not participating in the labour force.

The suggested space targets were provided to the CMSMs and DSSABs for review and to identify their priority neighbourhoods for expansion based on: 

  • supporting access to Low income families;
  • vulnerable communities;
  • diverse communities;
  • children with special needs;
  • Francophone families; 
  • Indigenous families, and 
  • families needing more flexible models of care.

CMSM & DSSAB Allocations

The allocations provided to each CMSM and DSSAB included a total allocation of spaces for children from birth to 5 years, made up of, school based targets over 5 years (aligned with the ministry’s capital planning) and community based targets over 5 years.

The CMSMs and DSSABs were asked to review their notional space expansion targets, identify their priority neighbourhoods and submit this information to the Ministry. In response to this review the ministry provided adjusted targets on May 24, 2023. Overall the total spaces over 5 years were increased from 44,968 to 72,588. With the doubling of community spaces there is a great opportunity for not-for-profit operators to expand.

Download a PDF of the detailed 5 year space allocation table from the Access and Inclusion Framework. 

5 Year Space Allocation Overview

Notional space allocations
(birth -5 yrs)
Adjusted space allocations
(birth - 5 yrs)
Total spaces over 5 yrs44,96872,583+27,620
School based spaces over 5 yrs.16,29615,342-954
Community based spaces over 5 yrs.28,67257,241+28,569

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