(March 19, 2010 - TORONTO) Children and parents who rely on quality child care programs were at Queen’s Park today to call on the Premier not to cut child care investments in the up-coming provincial budget. At stake is $63.5 million for 7600 subsidies that help families access affordable child care in Ontario.
"Parents rely on subsidies to work and retrain and child care centres need them to remain viable. We cannot fathom why the government would consider eliminating an investment that keeps on giving,” said Andrea Calver, Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care Coordinator at a Queen’s Park press conference.
The loss of subsidies comes at the same time as 4 and 5 year olds are being transferred from community based child care into the school system under the province’s early learning plan this coming September. The removal of over 35% of the children they care for will cause centres to close across the province. The government’s own analysis estimates that in this year alone 48% of child care centres will be affected.
“Building early learning on a stable foundation is important. Loss of child care subsidies hurts families and children who benefit from quality child care programs. It also disrupts a vital service and undermines Ontario’s economy,” said Calver.
The report of the Premier’s advisor on early learning foresaw these circumstances and recommended that all current child care resources be maintained, along with re-investing all child care savings realized from full day learning, plus additional capital and transition funds to sustain and reorganize child care services. This is not happening.
“If the Premier doesn’t include $63.5 million for subsidies in the budget they will be letting down families like mine” said Tessa Sprague, a parent and board member of West End Parents Child Care Centre. “This is not what Mr. McGuinty told voters when he announced his early learning plan during the last election. He promised parents more child care and lower fees. If this government is serious about it’s two main social policy planks, the Early Learning Program and the Poverty Reduction Strategy, it needs child care to succeed. Offering full day learning to four and five year olds while taking away care and learning opportunities from their younger sisters and brothers is wrong,” said Ms. Sprague.
Anissa Quawe, a Toronto parent, fears losing her subsidy when she returns to work. She told the Premier to support the thousands of parents like her in the coming budget next week.
“I am one week away from knowing whether I can keep my subsidy and my job. The ball is in your court Premier.”
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