The Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) system supports quality, accessibility, affordability and inclusivity in licensed child care.


CWELCC is a five-year plan that is being implemented in stages, to make child care more accessible and affordable. Fees will reduce every year, reaching an average fee of $10/day by 2025-2026.

CWELCC will:

  • Create more affordable, quality licensed child care spaces;
  • Support the early childhood workforce through enhanced compensation, training, and professional learning opportunities; and
  • Improve accessibility by addressing barriers to providing inclusive and flexible child care.

As the service system manager for Toronto, the City’s role in the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care system is to:

  • Implement provincial guidelines;
  • Establish local policies, procedures and funding approaches;
  • Develop and implement an application and approval process for the CWELCC system;
  • Contract for CWELCC funding through Service Agreements;
  • Provide fiscal oversight & funding; and
  • Report to the Ministry of Education and Toronto City Council on the CWELCC system.

Applying for the 2023 Expansion and Start-up Grant

The application for the 2023 period is now closed. More opportunities to apply will be available in 2024. Please continue to check the website for updates.

The expansion period covers 2023 to 2025. There will be opportunities to apply throughout the next 2 years. The approach to expansion will be consistent with the Ministry of Education’s, Access and Inclusion Framework, and targeted. Priority will be given to operators applying to increase access to care in areas with historically lower availability of child care spaces and key socio-economic indicators namely, support child care for vulnerable or underserved populations, particularly low-income families; children with extra support needs; Indigenous families, Francophone families, Black families; other diverse families; and newcomer families.

For more information on the Toronto Children’s Services’ approach to improve access and inclusion for priority areas and target populations, please see the June 14, 2023 City of Toronto Council approved report, which includes a map of high-priority areas on page 9.

Further to the expansion criteria, the Ministry of Education has directed the City to maintain its current proportion of not-for-profit child care spaces. In Toronto, a minimum of 80% of the new spaces approved must be not-for-profit spaces. This will be monitored and actioned by Children’s Service throughout the expansion process.

Eligibility for CWELCC Expansion

New child care spaces must:

  • be located in Toronto
  • be operational in 2023*
  • provide full-time access to care
  • The agency’s license must be in good standing, or the agency must be applying for a new license
  • Rooms must align with “Efficient Room Size,” “Adequate Next Age-Group Room Sizes,” and “Sustainable Planned Enrolment” as described in General Operating Funding Guidelines
  • Agencies must meet financial viability requirements, as outlined in the application
  • Please note that full-day kindergarten programs are not eligible for expansion
  • Other eligibility requirements may be developed to support annual allocation

*See exception related to Start-Up Grants below

Eligibility for CWELCC Start-Up Grant

The Start-Up Grant is available to for-profit and not-for-profit Licensed Child Care Agencies and Home Child Care Agencies enrolled in CWELCC.

Applicants for Start-up Grants must commit to the following:

  • Utilize the funds to support the creation of new licensed child care spaces, outside of a school, for children 0 to 4 years of age
  • Participate in the CWELCC system for the remainder of the current CWELCC agreement (March 31, 2026)
  • Expense the Start-Up Grant within two years from the date the legal agreement between the applicant and the City of Toronto is executed, on eligible expenses only

For additional information on the Start-Up Grant, including eligible expenses, please see pages 43 to 57 of the Ministry of Education Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Guidelines (June 2023)

CWELCC Workforce

  • The Q1 and Q2 quarterly CWELCC Workforce Funding (CWW) advance payments will be 25 per cent of the CWW payments made in 2023 for each payment.
  • 2023 CWW payments including RECE annual wage increase/wage floor payments were based on the approved 2023 PWE submissions.
  • The 2024 Ministry CWELCC Workforce guidelines are not available yet and it would be the decision of the agency to fund any further CWELCC workforce increases beyond the 2023 amounts.
  • A commitment from the province was that the City will receive additional Guidelines and a confirmed funding allocation for their recently announced Workforce Strategy in early 2024. This will contribute to the overall workforce funding available to the childcare system in 2024.

Additional Resource

TCS has developed a CWELCC 2023 Workforce (CWW) Funding Illustration Tool as an additional resource to assist licensed child care in understanding the CWELCC 2023 Workforce Funding calculation for their eligible RECEs. Agencies can reach out to their District Consultants to request a copy of the tool.