Policy and Political Action

Policy & Political Action

An Open Letter to all the political parties on full-day kindergarten, early learning and child care

Resource Type: 
Submission / Letter

This provincial election has seen a unique convergence of ideas with two political parties promising to introduce full-day kindergarten. The strategy delivers a double benefit. First, it provides free access to consistent quality programming for all four and five year olds. Second, it releases almost 42,000 child care spaces and 17,000 subsidies to address the child care needs of other age groups.
Ontario needs a comprehensive, early learning and child care system for children from 0-12, and beginning with four and five year olds make sense. This approach starts where Ontario’s early learning and child care services are already publicly-funded and attended by virtually all age-eligible children. It maximizes resources by adding new funding to an existing half-day program to create a full school-day of early learning and child care.
Publicly funded, full-day kindergarten provides a foundation for life-long learning, support for working families and helps reduce child poverty. Universal kindergarten is an environment where young children learn to respect diversity, thereby supporting social inclusion in an increasingly diverse Ontario. It is a critical part of the social justice agenda that Ontarians want.
Full-day kindergarten is clearly a bold and intelligent policy initiative, celebrated by Ontario parents and meeting the approval of critical stakeholders. Doing it right, however, will require that it is firmly entrenched in a broad, long-term and visionary plan for early childhood education and child care. If this program is to be truly optimal for children and families, the next Ontario government must take several additional actions.
The undersigned are calling on all the political parties in this election to make young children a first priority by committing to:


  • Fast-tracking implementation of the full -day kindergarten so it becomes fully operational for all four and five year olds during the next mandate

  • Adequately funding a child-focused, play-based curriculum delivered by appropriately trained and compensated professionals

  • Ensuring that the design of the new kindergarten program acknowledges the labour force commitments of parents through a seamless approach to full workday, full-year early learning and child care.

  • Providing immediate funding to address quality and stability issues in existing full day kindergarten and child care programs serving infants, toddlers and school-age children.

Joan Arruda, CEO, Family Day Care Services
Tom Axworthy, Chair, Centre for the Study of Democracy, Queen’s University
Derek Ballantyne, CEO, Toronto Community Housing
Morna Ballantyne, Coordinator, Code Blue for Child Care
Maude Barlow, Chairperson, Council of Canadians
Jane Bertrand, Chair, Ontario Best Start Expert Panel on Early Learning
Arthur Biefeld, Rabbi, Emeritus, Temple Emanu-El, Toronto
Shellie Bird, President, Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care
Martha Lee-Blickstead, Program Director Community Services, The Chang School of Continuing Education, Ryerson University
Deborah Bourque, President, Canadian Union of Postal Workers
John Campey, Executive Director, Community Social Planning Council of Toronto
Patricia Chorney Rubin, Chair, School of Early Childhood, George Brown College
Dr. Gordon Cleveland, Associate Chair, Dept of Management, U of T at Scarborough
Charles S. Coffey, OC,
Sue Colley, Executive Director, Building Blocks for Child Care (B2C2)
David Cooke, Former Minister Of Education, Ontario
Dr. Michael Cooke, Vice-President Academic, George Brown College
Dr. Carl Corter, Professor, University of Toronto and Atkinson Charitable Foundation Chair in Early Child Development and Education
Janet Davis, Councillor, City of Toronto
Cheryl DeGras, ECE Manager, Early Learning Centre, University of Toronto
Dr. Brian Desbiens, Past President, Fleming College
Dr. John R. Evans, Chair, MaRS
Mary Ferguson-Paré RN, PhD, President, Registered Nurses Association of Ontario
Robert Fox, Executive Director, Oxfam Canada
Martha Friendly, Executive Director, Childcare Resource and Research Unit
Nathan Gilbert, Executive Director, Laidlaw Foundation
Carol Gott, Rural Voices
Buzz Hargrove, President, Canadian Autoworkers
Margaret Hancock, Executive Director, Family Services Association of Toronto
Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, President, Ontario Nurses Association
John Hoffman, Columnist, Today's Parent Magazine
Michael Hurley, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions
Jamie Kass, Canadian Union of Postal Workers Child Care Fund
Bruce Kidd, Professor and Dean, Faculty of Physical Education and Health, University of Toronto
Annie Kidder, Executive Director, People for Education
Veronica Lacey, President & CEO, The Learning Partnership
Deena Ladd, Social Justice Advocate
Dr. Rachel Langford, Chair of Early Childhood Education, Ryerson University
Frances Lankin, President & CEO, United Way of Greater Toronto
Dr. Donna S. Lero, Jarislowsky Chair in Families & Work, University of Guelph and
Chair, Best Start Expert Panel on Quality and Human Resources, Ontario
Rianne Mahon, Director, Institute of Political Economy and Chancellor's Professor, Carleton University
Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, Co-author Early Years Study
Mike McCracken, CEO, Infometrica, Ottawa
Kerry McCuaig, Executive Director, Better Child Care Education Inc.
Heather McGregor, CEO, YWCA, Toronto
Michael Mendelson, Caledon Institute of Social Policy
Paul Moist, National President, CUPE
Dr. Fraser Mustard, Founders Network
Gail Nyberg, Executive Director, Daily Bread Food Bank
Ratna Omidvar, Executive Director, Maytree Foundation
Dr. Charles Pascal, Former Deputy Minister of Education, Ontario
Dr. Gail Robinson, President, YWCA Toronto
Laurel Rothman, National Director, Campaign 2000
Wayne Samuelson, President, Ontario Federation of Labour
Paulette Senior, CEO, YWCA Canada
Dr. Stuart Shanker, Professor, York University and Co-Author, Early Years Study
Anita Shilton, Dean, The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education
Ryerson University
Brian F. C. Smith, President & CEO, WoodGreen Community Services
Eduarda Sousa, Executive Director, Association of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario
Adam Spence, Executive Director, Ontario Association of Food Banks
Dick Stewart, Former Commissioner Of Social Services, Regional Municipality Of Ottawa-Carleton
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President, Ontario Public Employees Service Union
Dr. Linda A. White, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto
Beverley Wybrow, Executive Director, Canadian Women's Foundation

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