Moms and moms-to-be are at Queen’s Park Tuesday morning to let the Ontario government know that they are expecting big things on child care in this year’s provincial budget.
Child care featured prominently in September’s Throne Speech, with a promise of 100,000 new child care spaces over 5 years. So anticipation is at an all-time high that this year’s budget will finally make a strong investment in child care.
Advocates are looking for funds to expand spaces, address affordability for parents and decent work for educators. With the highest child care fees in the country and spaces for less than a quarter of children, Ontario families are desperate for relief from the child care crisis.
“As a soon-to-be mom, with my name already on more than a dozen child care waiting lists, action on child care can’t come soon enough. Child care cannot wait.” said Carolyn Ferns, of the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care.
“We’ve seen commitments in the past weeks from the government to address affordability of housing and hydro. But if you think those are expensive, try adding child care.” said Ferns “The average cost of an infant space is over $20,000 a year.”
Munizah Salman, a mother of a two-year old son, urged the Ontario government to keep their child care promise. "As a recent immigrant with no family or support system, child care was crucial for me to retrain and acquire my Canadian credentials and integrate into the society quickly. Child care must be made available and affordable to more families.” said Salman.
The moms are also supporting early childhood educators in their calls for decent work.
For Alana Powell, a Registered Early Childhood Educator, working in her chosen profession has meant having to delay starting her own family. “I simply could not afford to have a child on what I make working in child care. I already work a second job just to pay the bills.”
“Good staff are the key to child care quality.” said Lyndsay Macdonald of the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario “And how do you recruit and retain the best staff? You pay them decently and ensure they have good jobs.”
For child care advocates, immediate government investment in child care is needed for Kathleen Wynne to make good on her promise to close the gender wage gap. “Child care is essential to closing the gender wage gap both for mothers and early childhood educators.” said Macdonald “It’s time for the government to deliver.”
Carolyn Ferns, Policy Coordinator
Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care
647-218-1275 / 416-538-0628 x 4