Qualifications Upgrade

Learn how to apply for financial support for Early Childhood Education studies.
Earn A Qualified

Early Childhood Education Diploma

The objective of the Early Childhood Educators Qualifications Upgrade Program is to financially support individuals studying in the field, who work in Early Years settings, to obtain an ECE diploma and become eligible to apply for membership with the College of Early Childhood Educators (CECE).

Financial support is available to eligible applicants in the form of an education granttravel grant, and training allowance.

Quick Links

Education Grant

Learn how to apply for financial support for Early Childhood Education studies.

Travel Grant

Explore financial support that covers travel cost incurred while pursuing a diploma.

Training Allowance

Assisting grant recipients with living expenses and other incremental costs incurred while pursuing their diploma.

CECE Reimbursement

Covers both the initial registration and administration fees with the College of Early Childhood Educators.

Programs

See a listing of potential grant eligible Qualifications Upgrade programs, categorized by Ontario colleges.

Questions & Answers

Search the list of most frequently asked questions, in regards to the Qualifications Upgrade Program.

Education Grant

The education grant is available to cover the cost of tuition fees related to studying in a recognized Early Childhood Education diploma program. Applications are processed on a first come, first served basis once all required documents have been received. Funding is based on the number of applications received, and available funding per semester.

In order to be eligible to receive funds under the grant program, an individual must:

  • Have 6 months of employment past or present within:
    • Licensed Child Care Centres
    • Licensed Home Child Care
    • Unlicensed Home Child Care
    • Formal early learning settings, which include:
      • School Boards
      • Head Start programs
      • Private schools
      • Other formal early learning child care, child and family programs, or school curriculum-linked programs

AND

  • Be enrolled into a recognized community college in Ontario for full-time or part-time studies towards an Early Childhood Education diploma
  • Be living and working in Ontario

NOTE: The following individuals are exempt from the required 6 months of employment (past or present), however must have a minimum of 1 day of employment within an eligible agency:

  • Francophone
  • First Nation, Métis and Inuit Individuals
  • Employees of EarlyON Child and Family Centre or employed in a child care and family program funded under any Indigenous-led Child & Family Centres
  • Special Needs Resourcing (SNR) agencies providing ongoing support to children with special needs attending licensed childcare
  • Applicants who have completed the Skills Ontario Pilot for employment in child care

In addition to better meeting the needs of the child care and early years sectors across Ontario, funds under the ECE Qualifications Upgrade program will be prioritized for Francophone, as well as First Nation, Métis and Inuit individuals, along with those working under a Director Approval (DA).

Eligibility for Unlicensed Providers

In order to be eligible to apply for the education grant, unlicensed home child care providers must meet the following:

  • Demonstrate that they operate a registered business by providing a copy of their business license
  • Demonstrate that they have cared for children for at least 6 months through reference letters from parents
  • Be enrolled in to a recognized community college in Ontario for full-time or part-time studies towards an Early Childhood Education diploma
  • Be living and working in Ontario

Individuals are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible; preferably prior to the start of classes. A notice stating that no further applications will be accepted will be posted on the website once all the available funding has been awarded for the academic session. Administrator will contact the applicant in writing within 4 weeks of receiving all required documents, to advise whether their application for a grant has been approved.

Grant payments are deposited directly into the recipient’s bank account on the last banking day of month. The signed agreement and/or other documents must be received by our office by the 20th of the month. Payments will be deferred to the next month if documents/signed agreements are received after the 20th of the month.

Grant recipients will be issued a T4A slip at the end of every calendar year in which they received payment.

Application Form

Get started on your journey to ECE by completing your application for the education grant. Use the link to access the portal and apply online.

Travel Grant

Travel Grants are available to assist students with daily commute expenses while attending classes, first aid training, and/or completing the placement component of their program. Travel Grants may also provide assistance to individuals who are required to live temporarily away from their homes to pursue their studies.

If for any reason, a Travel Grant recipient is unable to travel for one or more of their in-class sessions, the recipient will be required to reimburse the program for the days not traveled. Reasons include but are not limited to, inclement weather, illness, and/or family circumstances.

The Travel Grant amount for travel by car is determined by multiplying the kilometre rate of $0.40/km in Southern Ontario and $0.41/km in Northern Ontario by the return distance between the applicant’s home address and the educational institution location, and then by the number of days of the individual attends classes or placement.

($0.40/$0.41 x Return distance between home address and College Site x # of days in attendance in classes/placement)

Individuals who are required to fly in order to attend courses or placements must provide the estimated cost of airfare with their application. Economy (coach) class is the standard option for ticket purchase. The cost of airfare will be reimbursed. Proof of payment with first and last name must be provided to the program administrator for reconciliation.

Individuals who are required to live temporarily away from home must submit the anticipated costs of their accommodations, and indicate the number of days they will require accommodation. These individuals will receive a daily stipend for meal expenses in alignment with the government’s Travel, Meals and Hospitality Expenses Directive, multiplied by the number of days they are living away from home. Receipts for accommodation expenses must be provided to the program administrator for reconciliation.

For Travel Grants

In order to be eligible to receive funds under the grant program, the following need apply:

  • Applicants must be approved for an education grant under this program.
  • The educational institution and or placement location must be more than 20 kilometers one-way from the applicant’s home address.
Accommodation Reimbursement

Hotel selections must be in line with the Government of Canada Accommodation Directory. Therefore applicants must ensure their hotel is listed as an acceptable accommodation by searching for their city through the directory. Proof of payment for accommodations must be provided prior to reimbursement.

Meal Allowance

Students who must live away from home to attend their in class session may also be eligible to receive a meal allowance of $45.00 per day for the duration of the in-class session.

Application Form

Get started on your journey to ECE by completing your application for a travel grant. Use the link to access the portal and apply online.

Training Allowance

A training allowance is available to assist education grant recipients with additional expenses while pursuing their Early Childhood Education diploma.

An individual must be approved for the education grant in order to be eligible to receive a training allowance. All approved education grant recipients are automatically assessed for a training allowance, which will be allocated as follows.

Full-Time Students
  • Full-time students who have left their employment to pursue full-time studies can receive up to $5,000.00 per semester
  • Full-time students who remain employed will receive a $300.00 training allowance for each course taken per semester
Part-Time Students
  • Part-time students will receive a $300.00 training allowance for each course taken for minimum of $500 per semester
Allowance Eligibility

In order to be eligible to receive a training allowance, an individual must be approved for the education grant under this program.

College of ECE Reimbursement

Designated funding is available through the ECE Qualifications Upgrade Program to support previous Ontario ECE Grant recipients whom have graduated during 2021 or later from an accredited ECE program.

Application Form

Be eligible to receive a one-time reimbursement to cover both the initial registration and administration fees totalling $245.00 with the College of Early Childhood Educators (CECE).

Eligible Programs

The Qualifications Upgrade Program provides financial support to unqualified Early Childhood Educators in Ontario, to obtain their ECE diploma. We have included a listing of ECE programs found within Ontario colleges that are potentially eligible for funding.

Qualifications Upgrade Program Database

The following educational institutions have programs that may be eligible for financial support through our Qualifications Upgrade program. Click on the links below for more information.

Location Status
Ottawa Campus Full-Time | Part-Time
Ottawa Campus Intensive
Pembroke Campus Full-Time | Part-Time
Location Status
Barrydown Campus Full-Time | Part-Time
Barrydown Campus Full-Time | Flex
Location Status
Ashtonbee Campus Full-Time (2 years)
Ashtonbee Campus Part-Time
Progress Campus Full-Time (2 years)
Location Status
En ligne | hybride Temps plein | Temps partiel
Location Status
Brantford Campus Full-Time (2 years)
Brantford Campus Fast Track (1 year)
Waterloo Campus | Hybrid Part-Time
Location Status
Oshawa Campus Full-Time (2 years)
Oshawa Campus Part-Time (online)
Oshawa Campus (childcare worker stream) Full-Time
Location Status
London | Clinton | St. Thomas | Woodstock Campuses | Online Full-Time (2 years)
London Campus Full-Time (2 years)
London Campus Fast Track
London Campus | Online Accelerated | Blended (weekend)
Simcoe Campus Accelerated (1 year)
Location Status
Sutherland Campus Full-Time
Sutherland Campus Part-Time | Advanced Standing
Location Status
Orangeville Campus | North Campus Full-Time
Location Status
Ottawa Campus Temps plein | Temps partiel
Toronto Campus Temps plein (2 ans)
Distance Temps plein | Temps partiel
Location Status
Sarnia Campus Full-Time (2 years)
Location Status
Belleville Campus | Distance Full-Time (2 years)
Belleville Campus | Distance Distance
Location Status
Fennell Campus Full-Time (2 years)
Fennell Campus Intensive
Location Status
Toronto Campus Full-Time | Intensive (1 year)
Location Status
Welland Campus Full-Time (2 years)
Welland Campus Full-Time (1 year)
Six Nations Campus Full-Time (2 years)
Location Status
Sault Ste. Marie Campus Full-Time
Location Status
King | Newnham Campus Full-Time (2 years)
Newnham Campus Full-Time | Accelerated (35 weeks)
Newnham Campus | Online, Flexible, Hybrid Part-Time
Newnham Campus | Online, Flexible, Hybrid Part-Time | Accelerated
Location Status
Trafalgar Road Campus | Davis Campus Full-Time | Part-Time
Trafalgar Road Campus | Davis Campus Full-Time | Intensive (1 year)
Location Status
Anishinabek Educational Institute Full-Time (2 years)
First Nation Sites Full-Time (2 years)
Windsor Campus Part-Time (3 years)
Windsor Campus Full-Time | Accelerated (1 year)
Windsor | Chatham Campus Full-Time (2 years)
Location Status
Cornwall Campus Full-Time (2 years)
Kingston Campus Full-Time (2 years)
Online Full-Time
Online Part-Time

Questions & Answers

Yes. Individuals must work for a minimum of six months (past or present).

NOTE: Individuals who meet the following criteria are now exempt from the required six months of employment within an eligible agency:

  • Individuals who identify as Francophone
  • Individuals who identify as First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities
  • Individuals working at an Ontario EarlyON Child and Family Centre
  • Those who are employed in Special Needs Resourcing (SNR) agencies provide ongoing support to children with special needs attending licensed childcare or EarlyON settings.
  • Those who are taking part in the Skill Advance Ontario Pilot

Yes. The total period of time that you have been employed within eligible agencies in Ontario will be considered toward the six months eligibility period.

No. Financial assistance is available to employees working in an eligible agency.

Director Approval (Otherwise Approved)

Pertains to an individual having permission from the Ministry of Education to work in a licensed Registered ECE position without having their designation. A copy of this letter must also be submitted at the time of application.

Letter of Permission

Pertains to an individual having permission from the Ministry of Education to work in a Registered ECE position without designation in a publicly funded school setting.

Yes, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. Please review the application checklist for details regarding this process.

The following types of financial assistance are available through this program:

  • Education Grants are available to cover tuition fees related to a recognized Early Childhood Education diploma.
  • Travel Grants are available to assist Education Grant recipients with daily commute expenses & accommodations incurred to attend classes or to complete the placement component of their program.
  • Training allowance is automatically assessed in order to assist education grant recipients with living expenses and other incremental costs incurred while pursuing their Early Childhood Education diploma.

The education grant is based on your tuition fees, minus any other grants or awards; excluding loans.

Yes. Grant recipients will be issued a T4A slip at the end of every calendar year in which they received payment.

You will receive an e-mail from the Ontario ECE Grants with a link to access the online portal to review the approval letter and sign the contract.

Payments are only deposited once the program administrator receives your signed Grant Assistance Agreement. The Grant Program issues payments on the last day of every month. Documents must therefore be received by our office no later than the 20th of any given month in order for your grant payment to be issued at the end of that same month.

Only General Education/ Elective courses under the Apprenticeship Program are eligible for funding under the Early Childhood Educators Qualifications Upgrade program. The cost of Apprenticeship courses are already subsidized by the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities we cannot provide any further funding for those specific courses.

Yes. Funding to cover PLAR fees within the current semester are now eligible for reimbursement under the Qualification Upgrade program.

No. Only the Early Childhood Education diploma program from a recognized community college in Ontario is eligible.

Programs are offered through the following institutes:

  • First Nations Technical Institute in partnership with Canadore College
  • Oshki-Pimache-O-Win: The WenJack Education Institute in partnership with Canadore College
  • Seven Generations Education Institute in partnership with Canadore College
  • Kenjgewin Teg in partnership with Canadore College
  • Anishinabek Educational Institute in partnership with St. Clair College
  • Six Nations Polytechnic in partnership with Niagara College

No. Funding is only offered for programs within Ontario.

If you are unable to pay for your tuition to the college you can select the sponsorship option on the application form and your tuition fees will be paid directly to the college. If you have already paid your tuition or deposit amount to the College you must submit your proof of payment within your application.

If there are any changes during the semester in which you are receiving funding, you must inform the grant Program Administrator immediately.

You must be considered a full-time student by your educational institution.

You can create an account and submit an application through the online portal. All supporting documents can be added to your online application.

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