New childcare spaces coming to London, Ont. by 2026

Minister of Education Stephen Lecce says the new spaces represent a 28 per cent net increase in childcare spaces for children aged zero to five in London. Ben Harrietha/980 CFPL

The Ontario Government has announced it will be expanding licensed childcare spaces in London by investing $62.3 million in 2023 to help create an additional 2,889 spaces in the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) system.

The funding was previously announced in Dec. 2022 for the creation of 53,000 licensed spaces by 2026, but no specific numbers were given at the time.

Minister of Education Stephen Lecce spoke Thursday at La Ribambelle, a daycare inside a south London French language school, saying the new spaces represent a 28 per cent net increase in childcare spaces for children up to and including age five in London.

London has been reported as one of the worst cities in Canada when it comes to providing childcare coverage.

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“This is so essential to our mission of making sure we can create more universal access to affordable care,” Lecce said.

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“For families in this community that had been waiting so long for access, this is part of our solution, collaborating with every level of governments to reduce the fees, increase access, and frankly, help families raise their kids at this difficult time.”

The new spaces are on top of the 9,092 spaces in the CWELCC system in London last year.

Lecce also pointed out that a 50 per cent reduction in childcare costs has already been achieved in London, bringing savings per child anywhere from $6,000 to $12,000 per year.

The CWELCC system aims to lower fees for families to an average of $10 a day by March 2026. Jenna Sudds, the newly appointed Federal minister of families, children, and social development, said the investment represents money back in the pockets of parents.

“We know raising children is expensive, and at times when we know that families are struggling with the cost of living, they shouldn’t be thinking about whether or not they can afford to send their children to daycare or not,” Sudds said.

Both provincial and federal governments have pledged a combined $13.2 billion to get licensed childcare costs down to 10 dollars a day by March 2026.

“Our community is full of bright and passionate young women and families that will be able to access childcare that may not have been affordable to them,” said Liberal London West MP Arielle Kayabaga.

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“When we give families and affordable and accessible childcare opportunity, these also represent opportunities for women to pursue careers.”

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