Local News: Dozens of kids, parents rally at Ontario legislature to stop cuts to daycare

TORONTO - Dozens of children and parents rallied at the Ontario legislature Friday, March 19 2010  to demand the government maintain child-care funding in the upcoming budget.

The tots waved signs and threw inflatable beach balls in the air to send a message to Premier Dalton McGuinty that the ball is "in your court."

Activists say one-time federal cash for child-care subsidies is running out after four years and the Ontario Liberals aren't planning to replace it with provincial funds in the March 25 budget.

"If the province doesn't come up with the $63.5 million a year in federal cash that's been built into Ontario's child-care budget over the last four years, the subsides will be cut back and about 7,600 kids will lose access to daycare. These cuts would radically destabilize the existing child-care system," said Andrea Calver of the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care.

"It's not that there isn't a need, it's that people in the neighbourhood can't afford the high cost of child care," Calver said.

McGuinty promised that full-day learning would free up about 20,000 daycare spaces across the province, but that won't happen, said NDP education critic Rosario Marchese.