OCBCC Pre-Budget Brief 2018

From OCBCC’s 2018 Pre-Budget Brief:

There is optimism among parents, early childhood educators, academics, researchers, and employers that Ontario’s direction toward universally accessible child care will begin to establish the system of high quality early childhood education and child care services that the OCBCC has been calling for since 1981.  At the same time, child care supporters know that transformation will require action on all three key pillars of a sustainable system of high quality child care services: affordable fees for parents made possible by substantial operational funding for programs; decent work with professional pay and recognition for early childhood educators; and expansion limited to the non-profit and public sectors that are efficient and accountable.

The three pillars are inter-dependent; thus, action in one area requires coordinated action in the others.  Currently, parent fees are the overwhelmingly largest source of revenue for non-profit child care programs.  At the same time, the largest expenditure item in a child care budget is wages and benefits for staff; these comprise at least 80-85% of the cost of operating high-quality child care.

In order for child care programs to provide decent work with professional pay (wages and benefits) that is commensurate with the training, experience and responsibility of early childhood educators and child care staff, two things need to happen: public expenditures need to increase significantly to provide operational funding to programs and the proportion of parent fees or contributions must be reduced to much lower rates that families can afford. At the same time, the supply of non-profit, affordable child care needs to expand to meet the increased demand.

Summary of OCBCC’s Recommendations for the 2018 Budget:

  • Allocate $635.5 million as a down payment on affordability; begin operational funding of all licensed infant and toddler spaces in child care centres and establish a sliding fee scale in 2018-19
  • Commit $375 million as a first step to establishing a province-wide wage scale for early childhood educators and child care staff with entry level pay for RECEs of $25 per hour
  • Approve $500,000 to implement a proactive Expansion Strategy to grow the non-profit and public child care sectors;
  • Implement a workforce strategy to ensure all staff have professional pay and decent work;
  • Commit funding and resources to support system infrastructure including data and research.