Toronto District School Board

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Toronto District School Board

Building of Child Care Centres

Categories: Advocacy

March 15, 2024 


Dear Minister Lecce, 

Further to my correspondence dated November 1, 2023, and our subsequent virtual meeting on November 29, 2023, I am writing to you once again on behalf of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) regarding the urgent need for child care spaces in Toronto. 

As previously shared, the Ministry of Education’s initial allocation of funding for 28 child care projects at the TDSB in 2017 fails to cover actual costs, due to outdated benchmarks, delayed approvals, and escalating construction costs. Combined with the recent offer of 25% further per project, this funding is still wholly inadequate to cover the costs associated with these projects. 

With these projects at serious risk of not being built, it is critical that we work together to consider other options to begin to address the lack of equitable access to child care co-located in schools in Toronto. It is with this in mind that our Board is formally requesting that the TDSB be permitted to pool Ministry and previously-allocated TDSB POD funding so that we can begin construction on as many of the identified child care projects as possible – particularly in underserved areas such as Scarborough and Northwest Toronto. As many of these projects have already been tendered and have building permits in place, this work could begin immediately if the green light to proceed is granted by the Ministry of Education.  

As Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) Chair Nancy Crawford and I recently shared in our Op-Ed in the Toronto Star on Sunday, March 3, 2024: “Embedding child care services in schools is the gold standard of child care. A seamless transition from early learning into the broader education system, co-locating child cares in schools reduces the stress families face when planning for their child’s care, fosters a stronger connection with the school community, and removes the emotional strain associated with finding child care providers close to their child’s school — not to mention the ease of doing one drop-off and one pickup each day.”  

Studies from jurisdictions like Quebec demonstrate that such programs enhance labour participation, primarily among women, thereby contributing not only to the economic engine of our country but also to sustained funding for child care initiatives. Additionally, child care programs have been proven to alleviate child poverty.  

The data of course, is what underlines government documents supporting the seamless day model, such as the Ministry’s “Working Together in Shared Spaces” and the Canada-Ontario Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement – 2021 to 2026, where the significant benefits of the seamless day for parents, families and children, and our wider communities are highlighted. We stand by these commitments to families and children.  
As you are surely aware, the TCDSB shares our commitment and is also actively advocating for increased funding for child care programs. This issue transcends our individual boards; it represents a societal challenge of considerable provincial and generational significance. And in Toronto, the lack of equitable access to child care is too urgent to ignore, requiring all of us to work together in collaboration to effect positive change for the next generation of families whose predecessors missed this significant opportunity.  

Attached is a detailed list of ‘shovel-ready’ projects ready for immediate construction, pending the authorization to proceed with pooled funding. This comprehensive list (attached below) includes projects in critically underserved areas such as Scarborough and northwest Toronto. Delaying Ministry action on this matter would only serve to further exacerbate the challenges faced by families in accessing quality child care services. 

Thank you for your attention to this pressing matter. We eagerly anticipate your prompt response and collaboration on a viable solution to begin addressing this crucial issue. 



Rachel Chernos Lin   
Chair, Toronto District School Board  


Project Ready Child Care List