The Ontario government is investing $4.4 million to create 64 new child care spaces each at Cobblestone Elementary and Banbury Heights School to help working families in Brantford and Paris.
This investment, announced by Will Bouma, MPP for Brantford-Brant, is part of the Ford Government’s commitment to supporting affordable and accessible child care in communities across the province.
Once complete, the project will provide 1 infant room, 1 toddler room, 1 preschool room, and 1 family age group room through the province’s Early Years Capital Program in each respective school.
The expansion at Cobblestone Elementary and Banbury Heights School in the Grand Erie District School Board is part of a provincewide 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.
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.”
“This investment will provide choice, stability and flexibility for families as well as new opportunities for the children of Paris and Brantford” said Brantford-Brant MPP Will Bouma. “High-quality before and after school care is a vital component to many families’ work-home life balance and I am so pleased to announce this news today.”
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.
“MPP Bouma’s advocacy for Brantford has resulted in this exciting announcement bringing Provincial investment directly to support families and children in our district,” said Greg Anderson, Chair of the Grand Erie District School Board. “The additional child-care spaces are great news for the community and for Grand Erie, and we’re very appreciative.”
“Quality child-care in schools helps provide a safe learning environment and a seamless transition for children moving to kindergarten and beyond,” said JoAnna Roberto, Director of Education, Grand Erie District School Board. “These will be very timely additions to our two schools, and we look forward to welcoming new children into school communities grounded in learning, leadership and inspiration.”
In addition, to support parents with the cost of child care and help them re-enter the workforce, 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.
The Ontario government has allocated more than $600 million to support ventilation improvements in schools across Ontario as part of its plans for a safer return to school. The Grand Erie District School Board has benefited from an investment of $8.1 million for ventilation improvements and has over 740 HEPA filter units in place.