OCBCC appeals to 18 MPP's to stand up for child care in local communities

May 14, 2013

In Ontario, early learning and child care programs have faced chronic underfunding and new financial pressures from the implementation of Ontario’s full-day kindergarten programs. The Coalition recognizes the efforts of the Ministry of Education to provide more predictable funding for municipal service managers and child care programs though a new funding formula announced in December.

However, that funding formula calls for huge cuts to child care funding for 18 communities in 2017.   Cuts to child care funding are completely unacceptable. Many of these communities are among the most economically hard hit areas of Ontario – communities that can’t afford to lose child care funding. We must bring funding for all communities up to ensure fairness, but we can’t accept cuts to child care funding for any community in Ontario. A fair funding formula for child care must not take from one community to give to another. The OCBCC send a letter to MPP's in the affected communities asking them to stand up for child care. Specifically, we have asked each MPP if he or she would ask a question in the legislature

Affected communities are:
City of Greater Sudbury
City of Kingston
City of London
City of Windsor
County of Grey
County of Lambton
County of Lanark
County of Northumberland
Couty of Oxford
County of Renfrew
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
District of Cochrane Social Services Administration Board
District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board
District of Parry Sound Social Services Administration Board
District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board
District of Timiskaming Social Services Administration Board
Kenora District Social Services Administration Board
Thunder Bay District Social Services Administration Board

To read the full letter follows and was customized for each MPP and each community.
Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care
Coalition ontarienne pour de meilleurs service éducatifs à l’enfance

489 College St. #206
Toronto, ON, M6G 1A5
telephone: 416-538-0628
toll free: 1-800-594-7514
info@childcareontario.org

April 16, 2013

MPP Address

Dear MPP _____________,

The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care is an organization dedicated to quality, accessible, affordable and not-for-profit child care in Ontario.  We are writing today to voice our concern regarding the recent redistribution of provincial child care funding which resulted in planned cutbacks to child care in your riding. In December, the province announced a new funding formula for child care programs.

While the new funding formula was long overdue and we welcomed the greater flexibility in spending provincial funding for child care, the cutbacks to some ridings are unacceptable. In total, 18 Consolidated Municipal Service Managers’ (CMSM) and District Social Services Administration Boards (DSSAB) will see child care cuts in three years – almost 1/3 of Ontario communities.

For the next three years, the province will provide mitigation funding, from last year’s provincial budget, to allow for a transition period of cutbacks. Because of mitigation funding, CMSM’s and DSSAB’s ought to maintain stable funding today.

However, communities are reporting that CMSM’s and DSSAB’s are considering cutting programs today and  fears of damaging cutbacks this year are widespread.

Attached, please find the 2013 allocations to CMSM’s and DSSAB’s. Local service managers have received three years of mitigation funding up front, so the column of mitigation funding should be divided by three for the amount lost to your region on an annual basis.

This means that your community will lose $________/year in provincial funding.  To your child care community, this funding is significant.  The reality is that child care is extremely underfunded in Ontario.  When the province reviewed the amount of funding across the province they found that your area was not as underfunded as others.  And so, your funding will be cut.

What does this mean for children and families in your riding?

Less child care funding in your community will mean that fewer families will be able to get a child care subsidy.   Fewer subsidies will mean that families will not be able to afford licensed child care.   With fewer subsidies will also mean higher vacancies for local child care centres. Higher numbers of vacancies in child care programs will result in fiscal instability. Because of legislated staff to children ratios, vacancies create havoc in child care centres, increasing the financial pressures in an already underfunded system. Financial instability results in a child care program closing every four days in Ontario.   In our experience, fewer child care subsidies will mean additional child care centre closures.

We oppose these planned cuts to child care funding.   Cuts to child care funding, anywhere in Ontario, are completely unacceptable. Many of the targeted communities are among the most economically hard hit– communities that can’t afford to lose child care funding. We shared this position in our submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.  We asked that cuts to child care for 18 affected communities be taken off the table. A fair funding formula for child care must not take from one community to give to another. We stated that funding for all communities should be increased up the highest level, to ensure fairness.

Child care is a vital service for our children, our families and our communities. The OCBCC submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs highlighted the recent TD Economics Special Report on Child Care. Like many recent reports on child care, TD Economics estimates that every dollar invested in early learning and child care returns between 1.5 and 3 dollars to the economy. Investments in child care create more jobs and more economic value to communities than almost any other kind of investment, including construction. These are well documented and researched facts that cannot be ignored.

The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care is committed to building a strong system of quality, accessible, affordable early learning and child care in the province of Ontario.  We hope that you will join us in advocating for sustained funding that will keep your child care programs open, and your families and children in a safe and healthy quality, licensed system of care.

We would like to work with you to prevent these cuts. Please confirm if you would be willing to speak in the legislature on this issue, we can help provide the necessary information.

Please contact our Coordinator, Andrea Calver, at 1-800-594-7514 x 4 so that we can work together to ensure a strong future for early learning and child care services in your riding.

Sincerely,

Sheila Olan-MacLean

Cc:
Minister of Education, or child care critic
Children’s services manager
Mayor
Local child care programs
OCBCC Executive and Council

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