Emergency funding needed to keep hundreds of child care centres from closing

The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care sent a letter of welcome to the Hon. Laurel Broten, the new Minister of Education. The letter also alerts Minister Broten to the immediate crisis of an upcoming wave of child care closures. To read the letter, click here

“This is not a looming crisis, it is one that has arrived. Child care centres are already beginning to announce their closures. We’re not talking about a couple of centres, we’re talking about hundreds of daycares potentially closing province-wide.” Says Tracy Saarikoski, President, OCBCC.

A report released in May by the Ontario Municipal Social Service Association revealed that more than 8,100 children in rural and Northern Ontario could lose their child care, including more than 500 with special needs. At least 52 centres have already closed in the past two years, and 200 more are in imminent danger, as are 150 home care providers. These closures could leave some 90 communities without local, licensed child care options.To read the report, click here.

The situation is no better in cities. In Toronto, five wards have been identified as at-risk to lose more than half of their current child care centres. Thirteen more wards are at-risk to lose 25-49 percent. Progress Childcare Centre in Scarborough and the 75-year-old Bond Infant and Child Care are likely to become the next two victims of this flawed funding model.

Two Toronto child care centres currently face closure within the next six weeks. Parents, children and workers from Progress Child Care Centre in Scarborough and the 74-year-old Bond Child and Family Development in downtown Toronto went to Queen’s Park on Thursday, October 27, to bring their concerns to the attention of Premier McGuinty and Minister of Education Laurel Broten. To read the media release surrounding the event, click here. To read an InsideToronto story about the event, please click here.

“A collapse of the community based child care sector means Ontario will lose thousands of jobs in the sector,” says Saarikoski.

Cuts to child care mean loss of jobs as well as spaces.

In 2010 when we faced cuts to funding in the budget, the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care requested that the Centre for Spatial Economics estimate the short-term economic impacts of the ending of $63.5 million in funding for the Early Learning and Care sector.

Their analysis concluded that if expenditures of $63.5 million for child care outside the home are removed from the Ontario economy there would be a total loss of GDP of $148.3 million.

The removal of the $63.5 million in subsidies would lead to: the disappearance of 7,600 subsidized child care spaces for children from low-income families; 3,030 jobs lost in child care, which in turn would mean a loss of care for 13,034 children; another 3,480 jobs vacated as parents are forced to leave work because they have no other child care options; and growing welfare rolls as out-of-work parents turn to social assistance.

To read the report, click here.

To view the full press release from the OCBCC, please click here.