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Peel council “heartless” vote to close all 12 regional child care centres ignores parents, community members’ pleas to keep centres open
MISSISSAUGA, ON – Appeals from area parents to keep 12 high-quality child care centres open were ignored today by Peel region council with the majority of councillors turning their backs on the needs of families and voting to close all its regional centres.
“We need more child care access in growing, under-serviced communities like Peel, not less. The Ontario Liberal government must act to stop anymore municipal centres from closing,” said Carrie Lynn Poole Cotnam, social service chair with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.
The five councillors who stood with parents and public child care and voted no to the closure, should be commended for their principled position, said Poole Cotnam. “Their stance,” she said “is a marked difference from the disingenuous attitude of those councillors who called a staff report recommending a phased closure of all of Peel’s public child care centres, ‘sensitive’. There is nothing sensitive about closing child care centres. We think it is fundamentally heartless to close programs that 700 children in Peel and their families rely on for quality care.”
During today’s Peel regional council meeting it became evident that even though councillors had yetto vote to close the public regional child care centres, regional staff had already been in discussions with private child care providers about the potential gaps in services that would be created by closing the regional centres.
The Ontario Liberals’ refusal to inject adequate funding to stabilize child care programs affected by the introduction of all-day kindergarten is resulting in a growing number of child care centre closures including nine municipal centres in Windsor, one in Kenora, and a francophone centre, three municipal centres and three Family Day Care Services in Toronto.
“Even though more and more child care centres are being closed and less licensed public and not-for-profit care is available, the Liberals have said that there will be no expansion of child care while they conduct a three-year review of child care. The Liberals are creating a climate just ripe for the expansion of for-profit child care that all the research shows is inferior care,” said Poole Cotnam.
A quality public and non-profit child care system supports workers and parents and is a major factor in fighting poverty and ensuring equality. “But, by their actions – rather lack of action – to stem closures and stop the expansion of private for-profit care, the Ontario government is fostering the exact opposite,” said Poole Cotnam.
For more information please contact:
Carrie Lynn Poole Cotnam, CUPE Ontario – Chair, Social Services (613) 864-1061
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications (416) 559-9300