"A huge step backwards" and "completely unacceptable" says working mom as Peel Regional Councillors voted to close all 12 Learn.Play.Care Centres by a vote of 16-5.
Peel axes daycare centres - Misissauga.com, Sept 14
"The report suggests that, thanks to the implementation of full-day kindergarten by September 2014, demand for childcare facilities will slow dramatically.
Dozens of parents showed up to protest and speak against the move, but councillors weren't swayed."
Peel Region votes to close 12 daycare centres - City TV, Sept 13
But parent Mary Farrugia, who waited three years to get her daughter into one of only 16 evening care spots, was upset.
“We are single working mothers trying to earn a living to raise our families. We do not hold traditional jobs. We need this care,” she said.
Some parents held a protest outside Peel Region headquarters on Peel Centre Drive in Brampton on Thursday morning ahead of the afternoon vote.
Peel Region votes to close its 12 daycare centres, Toronto Star, Sept 13
But parents such as Mary Farrugia, whose child goes to the only facility in the region that offers evening care, said she will have nowhere to turn.
“I am a single mother, I have no family here and I work for an airline at the airport. I asked staff what they will do for me once my centre closes. They currently accept children for evening care up to the age of 12. Staff told me they have no answer for me right now.”
Other parents said there are no private daycare spaces available in their neighbourhoods.
Councillors who voted for the closures repeatedly said senior governments need to step up.
“We are at the province and we are talking to upper levels of government about daycare,” said Councillor John Sanderson. “It’s a tough, tough situation.”
Peel votes to close daycare centres, Brampton Guardian, Sept 13
“I am very disappointed, but I must admit I was expecting the result,” said Mississauga resident Maria-Lucia Castillo, following the 16-5 vote. “It seemed to me from the beginning (Council) was biased toward closing the daycare centres. I never felt there was a true intention to look at options for keeping the centres open.”
Peel Region daycares on the chopping block in Thursday vote, Toronto Star, Sept 12
It is the second time this year the council will be asked to close region-run daycares that serve about 760 children in Mississauga and Brampton.
Last January, more than 300 parents and child-care advocates jammed council chambers, urging councillors to reject a staff report calling for the region to get out of daycare operation and focus exclusively on managing Peel’s 25,700-space licensed system.
Council balked and struck a task force to study the issue. But last month the task force of nine councillors and the regional chair came to the same conclusion as the staff report. Instead of closing the public daycares immediately, however, the latest report proposes phasing them out over two years, to coincide with the full implementation of all-day kindergarten in 2014.
Parents are still vowing to fight.
“Families need these centres,” said Agnieszka Czajkowski, whose 3-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son attend the Ridgeway Child Care Centre in Mississauga.
“Even though my children will be in school when (the daycares) close, what about other families? It is expensive to live in the city. Parents need to work. And children need high-quality care,” she said after a strategy session with about two dozen parents at Mississauga Central Library last week.
Parents rally against proposed daycare closures, Mississauga.com, Aug 31
However, the proposal to close municipal centres isn’t sitting well with many Peel parents who depend on those services.
Wednesday's meetings will inform parents on what they can do to help stop the proposed closures. Both meetings will feature the same presentations.