Andrea Horwath, MPP for Hamilton Centre, asked the following Question in the Ontario Legislature on April 30, 2008, regarding the year-long wait for subsidized child care.
Ms. Andrea Horwath: My question is to the Minister of Children and Youth Services: What is the McGuinty government doing about the 13,233 children in Toronto, the 5,145 children in Ottawa, and the many thousands more across the province who are eligible and approved, but cannot receive licensed not-for-profit child care because the new subsidy program hasn’t been adequately funded?
Hon. Deborah Matthews: I welcome the question from the member opposite. As she well knows, and as I trust many members do here, we have changed the eligibility requirements for subsidies across the province. Prior to this recent change, there was a patchwork of eligibility. In some communities, people with very low incomes were not eligible for subsidies at all. We have greatly expanded the eligibility because we recognize that even low- and moderate-income people do need help with subsidies.
Ms. Andrea Horwath: But what the minister is not talking about is the fact that there was no funding to help municipalities with the new subsidy formula. A waiting list of more than 23,000 Ontario children, unable to obtain affordable licensed child care, is nothing to brag about. Instead of making the $300 million provincial investment that the Premier promised five years ago, the minister created a parking lot for tens of thousands of children and has them waiting, year over year, for their opportunity to have a subsidized child care space in this province. Why does this government keep waiting lists, rather than keep promises, so families can access the child care that they need.
Hon. Deborah Matthews: We’re working hard for Ontario families; we’re working very hard for children in this province. We are committed to improving child care in this province, even after the federal government cancelled the child care funding in this province. I would welcome the support of members opposite in getting a real national child care policy back in this country.Each municipality does create their own wait list. Each municipality decides who they will prioritize. We are carefully monitoring the situation. I look forward to the recommendations from OMSA on where we should go next with the child subsidy.