On Monday, January 31st, we presented our proposal to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, Government of Ontario.
Our a plan to stabilize Ontario’s early learning and child care system indicates a need for $100 million in the 2011 Budget, with a commitment of $200 million in the 2012 Budget.
Stop Parent Fees From Increasing
Ontario’s child care system depends on full-fee paying parents. Child care subsidies, available to families who are having trouble paying for child care, only match what full-fee parents are paying. Many centres rely on at least 50% of their families paying the full fee.
Parents have reached the breaking point in terms of being able to afford quality licensed child care. Most parents pay $40 to $60 a day, or $10,000 to $15,000 per year, per child.
With Ontario’s new Early Learning Program, child care centres will specialize in younger children and many centres are projecting fee increases of 15 to 30 per cent.
We Have a Shortage of Qualified Staff Because of Low Wages
The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care estimates the average hourly wage is $14 and hour. Unfortunately, many qualified early childhood educators leave child care because they are underpaid. Federal statistics show that 41% of trained early childhood educators are currently working in other fields.
Quality child care depends on qualified staff. A high quality child care program spends 80% of the total budget on staff. As child care centres depend on full-fee paying parents, raising wages is impossible without significantly increasing fees paid by parents. We need a new funding model that does not rely on ever-increasing parent fees.
To read our full report, please click here.