OCBCC Pre-budget brief 2017: Building a quality child care system all families can afford and trust

Feb 01, 2017

EXCERPTS

There is long-standing evidence for funding a child care system because of its benefits to child development and wellbeing, poverty reduction, work-family balance, social solidarity and gender equality. These important reasons have been joined by a strong economic rationale for investing in a universal child care system.

Funding child care makes economic sense. Child care is a key part of Ontario’s social infrastructure, supporting the parent workforce. Studies show that child care creates ripple effects in local economies. Research in Manitoba found that every $1 of child care funding generated $1.58 worth of local economic activity. Meanwhile research on Quebec’s affordable child care program by economist Pierre Fortin concluded that the Quebec program contributes more in increased government revenues than the program costs, providing an estimated annual net gain of over $200 million to the provincial government.

In 2016 Ontario’s Gender Wage Gap Strategy Steering Committee traveled around Ontario holding public town hall meetings about how to close the province’s 30% gender wage gap. At these consultations the Committee found that child care was the number one issue raised by Ontarians – both from the perspective of mothers and the early childhood workforce.

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Budget action items

  • Commit at least $500 million in capital funding for Year 1 of the child care expansion to begin to make a real difference in availability of spaces;
  • Provide $300 million in new operating funding to keep pace with expansion of spaces, to support child care services directly and kick start a process of system transformation. The province should contribute an additional $75 million to address immediate crises faced by existing programs;
  • The province should commit to moving from the current broken fee subsidy system to an affordable sliding fee scale, and begin work immediately to design an affordable fee model that works for all Ontario families;
  • Commit to a provincially established workforce strategy to ensure all staff have professional pay and decent work;
  • All funding should be indexed to inflation;
  • Commit funding and resources to support system infrastructure including data and research.
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