GBC launches new Early Childhood Education (Compressed) program to address challenges in the ECE sector

Casa Loma Campus child care centre

When all three levels of government announced a plan to expand access to affordable child care and address a critical workforce shortage, George Brown College jumped into action. We moved quickly to launch a compressed diploma program to increase the number of highly qualified early childhood educators (ECEs) in the field. 

George Brown’s Director of Early Childhood Patricia Chorney Rubin says the ECE sector faces complex challenges. A significant sector expansion, an acute shortage of trained professionals, and the pandemic present hurdles the college is helping the industry overcome. 

“All levels of government have come together to recognize the importance of early years and the need for child care to support not only children’s learning and development but also families’ ability to work outside the home,” she said. 

“With our compressed program, we’re proud to be part of the solution to get more highly qualified ECEs into the workforce faster.” 

About 50 students started the new Early Childhood Education (Compressed) program in July 2022 — a 14-month diploma program that includes three work placements (the standard ECE diploma program is two years). Government funding for the program covers tuition for domestic students and the cost of textbooks and other learning supplies. 

“We were able to launch this program in a relatively short time frame given the number of qualified faculty at the School of Early Childhood.” Chorney Rubin said. “Because we have 12 Lab School Child Care Centres, we could provide rich placement environments.” 

George Brown has the largest network of college-owned and operated child care centres in Ontario. 

How is George Brown attracting new people to the ECE profession? 

In March 2022, the federal and Ontario governments announced the Ontario Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, a five-year deal to increase access to affordable and high-quality child care and address the ECE workforce shortage with recruitment and retention initiatives. Shortly after, in May, George Brown announced its new compressed diploma program. 

Greater Toronto Area (GTA) colleges with ECE programs and local municipalities formed a consortium to create actionable strategies to get ECEs into the workforce faster. GTA municipalities provided funding to cover domestic student tuition in the new compressed program as part of the Canada-Ontario Early Childhood Workforce Agreement. They also funded tuition grants of either $2,000 or $4,000 for applicants who accepted their Fall 2022 offer of admission to one of four other full-time ECE programs at George Brown. 

Chorney Rubin says the tuition-free compressed program attracted students who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to pursue full-time ECE training. 

"Many students shared they have had a long desire to work in the field, but barriers included the cost of coming to school,” she said. “The combination of the waived tuition, resources supplied and stepping away from working for one year instead of two opened doors for them to fulfill their goal of working in the field.” 

The program has also established an important sense of community.  

“These 50 students have come in and they’re staying together as a single cohort who have the opportunity to learn, share and grow together and they’re really experiencing this as a learning community and a community of learners,” Chorney Rubin added. “They see this well-supported learning environment is really going to help them be successful.” 

GBC child care centres opt-in to $10-a-day plan

On August 19, 2022, George Brown College announced we’re opting into the Ontario Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care system, also known as the $10-a-day child care plan (the program aims to deliver child care at an average cost of $10 per day by September 2025). 

“This agreement enables our college to continue to provide high-quality accessible child care programs to the many families currently utilizing our centres and enables families ongoing access to child care subsidy,” George Brown College President Dr. Gervan Fearon said. “The implementation of a staged fee reduction will allow many families access to child care who have not been able to do so up to now. All children and families deserve access to high-quality, affordable and inclusive licensed childcare.” 

Learn more about our Lab School Child Care Centres

Read the full statement

School of Early Childhood logo


This opportunity is funded in partnership with the City of Toronto, The Region of Peel, The Region of Durham, The Region of Halton, the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada under the new Canada-Ontario Early Childhood Workforce Agreement, which provides one-time federal funding to support the retention and recruitment of a high-quality child care and early years workforce.