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Friday, February 09, 2018

Ontario Expanding Early Years Programming for Indigenous Children

Ontario is expanding culturally relevant licensed child care and early years programs, and investing in more child care spaces for First Nation, Métis and Inuit children and their families living in urban and rural areas across the province.

Indira Naidoo-Harris, Minister of Education and Minister Responsible for Early Years and Child Care, was at the First Nations School of Toronto where the province is investing in significant upgrades to the school, including four new child care rooms to create 64 new licensed child care spaces and one new child and family program room.

As part of The Journey Together: Ontario's Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, the province is also enhancing existing and supporting new child care and child and family programs in 58 off-reserve projects led by Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous organizations. This includes culturally relevant programming, advice, personal connections, resources and play- and inquiry-based learning for Indigenous children and families.

Creating more opportunity for Indigenous learners and their families is one of many steps on Ontario's journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. It reflects the government's commitment to work with Indigenous partners and create a better future for everyone in the province.

Quick Facts
  • Ontario is supporting Indigenous children and their families by investing up to $70 million over two years in child care and child and family programs developed in partnership with municipal service managers and Indigenous organizations.
  • Ontario is investing $11.5 million in upgrades and enhancements to the First Nations School of Toronto.
  • In 2018, Ontario is investing $784 million in 79 new and renovated schools across the province. This investment will also create a total of more than 2,700 new licensed child care spaces for children aged 0-4.
  • Ontario is investing up to $1.6 billion in new capital funding over the next five years to support the creation of 45,000 new licensed child care spaces in schools, other public spaces and communities.
  • Research shows that there are positive relationships between quality early learning, child development outcomes, and a parent’s ability to work.

Additional Resources

“Culturally relevant child care and early years programs are important for Indigenous families. This funding gives more Indigenous children access to high-quality child care and child and family programs in their communities.”
Indira Naidoo-Harris
Minister of Education and Minister Responsible for Early Years and Child Care

“Creating culturally relevant child care and learning spaces that celebrate the rich history, cultures and languages of Indigenous people, positively impacts students’ self-identity and has been proven to lead to better academic outcomes. Expanding child and family programs and licensed child care services is critical. Improving learning opportunities for Indigenous students like those attending the First Nations School of Toronto is part of our commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.”
David Zimmer
Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

“We are pleased about this expansion in child care and child and family programs in Ontario Friendship Centres through Journey Together. Fifteen Friendship Centres across the province will receive expanded programs and services through this next phase of investments. We know this will have a positive impact for urban Indigenous people living in cities and towns across Ontario. The long-term effects of adequately investing in our children will be felt for generations to come.”
Sylvia Maracle
Executive Director of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres

“Indigenous families will, for the first time in many parts of Ontario, have access to Indigenous led early years and child care programs. The Kenora District Services Board will work with our Indigenous partners to implement programs based on respect, unity and the restoration of cultural identity. Through the Journey Together, we will better support families and their children, as well as the important work that needs to be done as part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action.”
Henry Wall
Chief Administrative Officer, Kenora District Services Board

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