Early learning and child care in Ontario: Building on a house of cards

Notes from the Early Learning and Child Care Briefings at Queen's Park- March 10, 2010

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Solutions to make full-day learning for 0-12 a real success..
1. Stabilize the “house of cards”- replace the $63.5 million
2. Revise 80% provincial base funding to municipalities based on actual costs with indexation
3. Provide adequate transitional funding to ensure full day early learning program works

“Perfect storm” - precarious funding situation is now brewing..
The four components of the child care funding crisis:
1. Child care base funding not adequate: Growing and compounding problem as funding to municipalities has not been adjusted for inflation in 15 years.
2. Cuts to early learning and child care if $63.5 million is removed from the child care budget. Funding was one-time money from the National Child Care Program which Ontario split over four years and added to the core child care funding budget.
3. “Unconditional grants” ending: Funding from the first year of the National Child Care Program which, delivered late in the year, was transferred to municipalities. Some have used this money to cover gaps in funding – however, funds running out for many municipalities this year, for others next year.
4. General financial pressures impacting on municipal contributions: Many municipalities have additional unmatched spending on early learning and child care.

Full-day early learning, layered on top of an unstable base, will add to the chaos and instability.