Get the Facts About Child Care Policy And Funding in Ontario

The Liberal Election Promise of "Universal Child Care"On June 6, 2017, Ontario's Liberal Government announced a dramatically expanded "system" of child care in Ontario. However, some experts are already pointing out that the Liberal plan is a lot like the one tried in Quebec some 20 years ago--a plan that has since failed. A recent statement from the Montreal Economic Institute points out that from 1998 to 2015, the cost to Quebec's taxpayers went up by nearly 800%, but the number of available spaces only tripled, leaving many families languishing on waiting lists. In 2008 alone, the taxpayer cost of unionizing home-based child care providers was over a billion dollars. Closer to home, the Ontario PCs are questioning the Liberal Government's capacity to deliver on their recent child care promises. In an official statement, PC children and youth services critic Gila Martow said: "currently the licensed day care sector provides spaces for little more than 20 per cent of children. The Wynne Liberals have no plan to pay for this promise, and they won't be accountable for it until years down the road." While that may be true, a recent Provincial memo to municipalities suggests that the current Government plans to funnel money away from existing licensed child care programs into the new government-run programs it plans to announce leading up to the 2018 election. If implemented, this move will drive up child care costs for most Ontario families and leave all families with even fewer licensed child care choices. 

The Child Care & Early Years ActThe Ontario Minister of Education tabled Bill 10--The Child Care Modernization Act-- in July of 2014. After the Bill passed, the Liberal Government issued new regulations that came into force in August of 2015. Parents, educators, child care providers and Opposition MPPs have all expressed serious concerns about the Act and the fact that the Government curtailed debate about it. Some parents report feeling that the Act has pushed them into reliance on larger, institutionalized care settings, rather than respecting the broadest range of parental choices. The Act gave municipal governments the right to weigh in on Provincial licensing decisions. Since many municipalities run their own licensed child care programs, this is a clear conflict of interest. The Act also imposed new restrictions on the licensed child care sector, allowing Ministry employees to impose penalties of up to $100,000 for a contravention of the Act, with the only right of appeal being a review by another "designated senior employee” from the same Ministry. While it has dramatically increased the cost of providing licensed child care, the new Act has done little to prevent overcrowded, illegal day cares from operating, which is why the Government introduced Bill 10 in the first place.

What You Can Do If you're concerned about the Ontario Government's current child care policy or recently announced expansion plans, or are experiencing increasingly limited or expensive child care options,  please let your MPP know. While a letter that you print and mail is generally more effective, even a quick email can help. You can find your MPP's contact information here. Please copy ADCO on your letter as well, so that we can more fully understand the challenges you are facing.





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