Highlights-Child Care Modernization Act

Early draft of Bill 143 – Child Care and Early Years Act:

Some highlights, check back for an update soon, with page references!

About Home Child Care:

The OCBCC wanted everyone who is looking after children in their home as a business to be licensed through a licensed home child care agency. We will continue to advocate for providers to be licensed.

However the bill proposes to:

Create an advantage for licensed home child care: proposes a  limit of 6 children, including your own children under 6

Unlicensed home child care will be limited to 5 children, including your own children under 6

Licensed and Unlicensed child care can only have 2 children under the age of 2.

Specific new rules for licensed and unlicensed home child care:

Parents can’t be prohibited from access

Providers must give receipts

Unlicensed home child care must inform parents in writing

Unlicensed home child care can’t use the term “child care centre” or any variation with the work “licensed”

Private schools who were previously exempt from licensing now must be licensed.

Enforcement

Still a complaints based system

Collaboration with public health, Children’s Aid Society

Max penalty $100,000 -  Ministry can lay that fines without going to court

Licenced Child Care Centres:

 If operating a before and after school program, school classrooms will be deemed appropriate for fire and building specifications.

After school programs:

If there is sufficient demand, schools will “ensure” before and after school programs (can operate that program themselves or engage a third-party operator)

Recreation programs exempt form licensing but will have minimum standards

Role of Municipal Service Managers:

Municipalities responsible for planning, every service manager must have a plan.

Province can deny a license for a new child care centre based on the recommendation of municipal service manager

Role of the Province:

Maintains responsibility for policy, pedagogy, programming

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commented 2013-12-06 21:43:13 -0500 · Flag
I am corresponding in regards to Bill 143. The Bill brings with it long over do attention to inconsistency and lack of power of the Ministry over the thriving ‘illegal’ childcare industry in Ontario. For that I am truly grateful, however, it also has several components that raise grave concerns for the sustainability of home childcare.

I think most of the province strongly believes that there needs to be national standards of care that are consistent across the board. That the basic rights, the safety and the quality of the early learning experience received by children in Canada, and Ontario specifically, should not change based on the location or person providing the care and supervision to them and that those who contravene those standards should be held accountable. Our children deserve a strong and bright future and in this we must continue to advocate!

Highlights of concern from the Bill 143 for me are:

A) Inconsistency between private/unregulated and agency / regulated models are still being proposed.
B) I do not think the government or policy makers have done enough research into the impact of Full Day Early Learning on the home childcare profession across Ontario in particular in regards to the ‘age restrictions’ for home based programs.
C) The proposal of ‘waiving’ the age restriction for agency regulated providers is inconsistent with the message being sent that said age restrictions are for the ‘health and safety’ of the children. This subsection of the Bill will eventual result in parents being forced to pay the high agency fees for childcare ratios that they currently get in a much lower fee in an unregulated setting and the government is calling ‘substandard unsafe’ practice and proposing to change in another section of the same bill.

The Bill still proposes options that ‘muddy’ the definitions with inconsistent rationales.

Allowing the providers own children ‘over the age of 6’ to no longer count in EITHER industry, allowing an agency regulated provider to have 1 additional child, approving ‘two provider models’ in a HOME setting, waiving age restrictions for ‘approved’ settings and so forth these inconsistent rules just perpetuates the confusion around the rules for HOME childcare because they are ‘illogical’ to those who are on the front line working within that setting!

The RULES should be the same across the BOARD. This would allow for the education and empowerment of parents and providers a CHOICE that is easier to be CLEAR CONCISE and CONSISTENT! I strongly believe that the protection of the option of self regulation of the industry, by parents and providers, is the only sustainable path that will see an increase in quality childcare while continuing to meet the changing needs of the families we serve. Parents need to be empowered to make an educated CHOICE toward the childcare model that best meets their needs. They are the ones in programs day in and day out.

It would make most sent to choose a maximum number of children, including ones own, that the stakeholders feel is a safe amount of children for one person to safely supervise in a home setting without being considered a ‘institution / centre’ model. Make this number the SAME across the board for both models. Hold us ALL responsible to the same standards and treat us all EQUAL under the laws while maintaining the option to operate privately or to join an agency and allow parents to CHOOSE the model that best suits their needs.

When I opened my program I began with an agency … as an RECE I believed agency was the best value for parents. However the reality is I eventually had to give up my contract with them because it was not a viable business option. With the introduction of Full Day Early Learning in Ontario I have found it increasingly challenging to find children over the age of 3 and eventually gave up my contract with them in order to maintain a viable income doing home childcare. For the past five years I have been ‘self regulated/private’. During that time frame I volunteered to follow the secondary portion of the current rule. I had a goal of no more than 2 children under the age of 2 and the rest of my crew during that time had all been over 2. The reality is that even doing THAT it has gotten consistently harder to find the ‘older’ children. I have had to get a second part time evening job to make ends meet in the hopes that an older child will come along shortly!

Moving forward if I was FORCED to follow this rule and not have the flexibility to add a child who might be 20 months if I felt that my current group could manage than I would not be able to maintain a viable business plan. One of two things would have to happen A) I would have to close and seek a full time job out of home OR B) I would need to raise my current fees. This would result in my clients seeing fees go from the current $160 a week to at least $266 a week to accommodate what is typically going to be an average ratio of 1:3 in my home!

This is the concern that I think MANY of the 80% of providers currently operating in the unregulated sector are weighing today in light of your announcement of Bill 143.

I am gravely concerned that IF this bill passes AS IS that Ontario will see a mass exodus of providers who up until now were offering amazing home childcare options for parents.

I strongly encourage the Ministry of Education and the Liberal government to consider the amendment to the Bill that allows for inconsistent rules between the models and allow for something along the following guidelines for BOTH MODELS:

The who choose to operate the business of home childcare, privately or in conjunction with an agency, must follow the following ratios:

5 children under the age of 4 or up to the age of 12 if the child is not currently enrolled full time in a approved school setting … of these 5 children only ONE child may be non-walking (this addresses the issue of children with disabilities without assigning an AGE restriction as well as addresses the concern for evacuating multiple non walkers that was the reason for the initial no more than 2 under the age of 2 restriction as well as address those who would try to get around licensing rules by offering private homeschooling in their home for a fee)
An additional 3 children aged 4 to 10 may be present in the home provided they are enrolled in school full time and therefore only present in the program before and after school, PD days and summer vacation periods.

In my opinion you do not have to clarify if the children BELONG to the provider or not because the reality is it should not matter.

IMO this would be a model that almost ALL of the interested parties and stakeholders should be able to rally behind!

Thank you for taking the time,
Kind regards

Margaret Wake RECE, ECE.C
commented 2013-12-06 11:23:53 -0500 · Flag
I am writing to you all today to express my thoughts and opinions of Bill 143.I am a mother of 2 boys (ages 3 and 1). When I had my first, that is when I became passionate about childcare. I was so anxious about where to send him and luckily found a great place where he had a great time and wonderful care for a year. It was an unlicensed home daycare.During my year back at work outside my home, I decided that I would open my own home daycare. I did loads of research, spoke to other home daycare providers and renovated 3 rooms in my home for the express purpose of taking care of these children. I have been operating now since Oct/Nov 2013 and have 4 children in my care (both full time and part time). I have 2 more (1 full time, 1 part time) starting in the new year. I love having the kids here everyday, my boys love having friends to play with and I feel like I’m making a difference for these parents by alleviated the stress involved with dropping your child off and going back to work.I was horrified when I found out about that poor little girl dying at a home daycare. I cannot begin to imagine what her mother is going through. This type of crime is what makes me so proud of my daycare! I take every measure to ensure safety of these kids!
I am absolutely on board with the government taking charge and making unlicensed daycare accountable. I think there should be huge fines for anyone breaking the law and there should be limits set in place and I would welcome unscheduled visits by any inspector!My problem with the new Bill 143 of the age restrictions they are talking about setting in place and making my own kids part of the 5 kids or less allowance. Right now I have only 2 children over 2 and the rest range from 9 months to 16 months. 90% of the parents looking for my care are first time parents going back to work which means that almost all are looking for care for a 1 year old. The impact on my business would be catastrophic. I would have have to tell at least 3 kids/parents to go find someone else and I would, sooner than later, have to shut down. I would not be able to make enough money with so few clients.I hope you can put yourselves in my and the other care givers place and please reconsider these rules! The rate that full time is in my area (London, Ont.) is only about $30.00-$35.00 per day per child. When you can only take 3 children, that works out to $1080.00 a month. Can you pay your bills on that? Not to mention that the parents who have signed on with me will now have to start over after already looking and finding someone they trust and a place their child is happy going to.Like I said, I welcome home visit from the government, but please look again at the age and number of children rule. my kids are happy and healthy and well cared for in my home. The parents are happy and stress free leaving their kids here.Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.Sincerely,Tracey DeVet