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A perfect storm is facing Ontario’s child care sector, one that will create ideal conditions for the expansion of commercial child care. Already over one quarter of Ontario’s child care centres are run by commercial operators and this number is growing.
The child care sector has always been underfunded in a piecemeal manner. As well, the sector will be further rocked this spring with a $63.5 million loss in federal funding that the province is refusing to make up. With the rollout of Ontario’s full day early learning program, the removal of four and five year olds to schools will have a huge impact on child care centres.
Commercial child care operators are taking advantage of this climate of uncertainty by lobbying both local and provincial decision makers for cuts to quality child care. They have already been successful in Windsor, where Windsor City Council voted February 1st to shut down nine municipal child care centres. Prompted by the commercial lobby, the government has already held a closed door consultation to discuss lowering standards under the Day Nurseries Act. In addition, a new Texas-based company plans to set up a big box child care chain with capital raised by trading on the TSX Venture Exchange.
Child care advocates are fighting back by lobbying the province for additional funding, and pushing for the expansion of publicly delivered child care services. You can help by lobbying your MPP.
What’s happening where I live?
Escalating child care costs worry city
Meeting: March 25th: Community Budget Watch for children and families
Toronto Star article on the increasing cost of child care
Contact the Toronto Coalition for Better Child Care
Mar. 24: Toronto Star front page article on funding for child care in Ontario’s budget
Mar. 22: Toronto Star editorial on the near collapse of child care
Mar. 19: CTV Video coverage of Child Care rally in front of Queen’s Park
Mar. 19: News release, parents tell McGuinty not to cut child care
Mar. 3: Youtube Video of NDP Leader Andrea Horwath
Feb. 22: Read the Toronto Sun Op Ed by CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn
For more information on putting Ontario Kids First, read the following topics:
Early Learning Child Care Children’s Aid Home