Ontario’s Provincial Budget Needs Investment in Child Care

Jan 30, 2009

From Child Care Watch Newsletter, Winter 2009

Effective public investment in these uncertain economic times is a political imperative.

Actions taken in this year's provincial budget will mean the difference between a brief recession and a long term economic crisis.  Investing in child care is part of the solution; quality child care services are a recession proofing tool that will positively impact the economy now and in the future.

Child care, like no other public investment, is critical in times of serious economic uncertainty: 

People can’t work without child care.  Families use child care services everyday to work and study.  More than 70 % of women with child under 6 are in the workforce in Canada and an even higher proportion of fathers

  • Child care stimulates local economies.  Early childhood education and care generates ongoing economic activity in the community. It creates jobs and, since the sector is labour intensive, the majority of child care dollars are spent locally and invested in people. And lower costs to parents will free up dollars for local spending and investment.
  • Quality child care makes us more economically competitive.  More than 90 per cent of the net new jobs created from 1997 to 2006 went to people with postsecondary education.  There is no better way to ensure an educated workforce now, and in the future, than to invest in early learning and child care.
    Child care and early learning is an investment not a cost. Access to quality child care reduces social and health services costs later in life. There are long term economic gains - at minimum a 2:1 return and at maximum a 17:1 for more vulnerable populations. There are also immediate tax revenues generated from parents who are working and over the long term a healthy productive workforce is created. 

    Lack of Child Care Funding Puts 22,000 child care spaces at risk!

    This year’s Ontario Budget needs to include funding for child care just to maintain our current level of child care subsidies.

    The Provincial Child Care Budget currently contains $63.5 million dollars in Federal funding – money which was not renewed in the recent Federal Budget.

    Without additional funding in this year’s budget, we anticipate that municipalities will start to cut child care subsidies as soon as this September.

    The result, starting in September, could be the denial of subsidies to tens of thousands of children, leaving more families without quality child care and causing enormous financial problems for child care centres.

    Without replacing the funding, child care centres could close. Even today, centres have hundreds of children who need a child care space but have vacant spaces because their parents can’t afford to pay the high fees.

    Let’s not let this be Ontario’s future. Let’s get child care funding in this year’s Provincial Budget.

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