Excerpt from hansard Official Record of the Ontario Legislature
Andrea Horwath, MPP for Hamilton Centre, asked the following Question in the Ontario Legislature on May 14, 2008, regarding the McGuinty government’s lack of investment in child care expansion.
Ms. Andrea Horwath: The question is for the Minister of Children and Youth Services. Why is it that yet another province has announced a major provincial investment in child care, some $244 million, and Ontario doesn’t even have a child care line in the budget?
Hon. Deborah Matthews: Thanks for the opportunity to talk about the great progress we’ve made in child care in the province of Ontario. Since the election in 2003, since we came to office, we’ve created 22,000 new child care spaces. The member opposite will also know that in last year’s budget we allocated $25 million for last year and an additional $25 million for this year. The province of Ontario is moving forward aggressively on child care.
Another very important change that we’ve made is that we’ve really streamlined the child care subsidy program so that more people in the province of Ontario have access to high-quality child care.
Ms. Andrea Horwath: This minister will know that the vast majority of funding that came to child care in Ontario came from the federal government, and that’s just the reality. The $300 million that this government pledged years and years ago still hasn’t seen the light of day in the province of Ontario. Not only will Alberta be investing $244 million to expand child care, they’re also going to be enhancing child care subsidies significantly in that province. By comparison, here in Ontario, we have the waiting list expanding in massive ways. Some 23,000 families are on waiting lists for a child care subsidy here in Ontario.
So my question is this: Why is Alberta able to expand child care but in Ontario the minister can’t even point to a physical line item in the budget that says “child care”?
Hon. Deborah Matthews: I can’t believe that the member opposite is so naive not to understand why Alberta is able to invest more in child care than the province of Ontario. However, the important thing is that access to high-quality child care is a very high priority for us and as we move forward on a poverty reduction strategy. Having access to high-quality child care at a cost that parents can afford is a very important component of getting everyone who is able to work working in this province.