The province has now made it much easier for parents to view information on licensing and inspections to child care centres.
Inspection reports for the past three years for licensed centres, including home-based operations, can now be searched online . You can search by postal code, age group of the child and the type of program. It also allows searches based on the licensed program or operator name, and there is also a list of all available centres in a municipality.
Andrea Calver, coordinator of the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care, notes that this change emerged from a scandal in Toronto involving unlicensed and illegal centres.
"It prompted an outcry from parents who wanted more information," she said. "So I think this is really terrific. It helps parents understand how regulated the centres are, and what people doing the licensing inspections are looking for."
However, there are only licensed spaces for one in five Ontario children, she added. "The reality is, parents don't have a lot of choice," Calver said. "Most parents take whatever they can get at whatever price."
Others are forced to choose unlicensed and unregulated daycare options, where we know nothing of the quality. The Coalition argues that without more funding to increase child-care spots and make them more affordable, that won't change.
This development came out of the work of many advocates around the province to hold the province accountable to their promise to increase the availability of this information. After concerns were made public, New Democrat Members of Parliament brought questions before the Ontario Legislature directed at the Minister of Education regarding the issue. The questions were first brought forward on April 18th.