Tuesday March 27th, was budget day in Ontario. Ontario's child care community worked together to sound the alarm about the pressures facing the child care sector and the need for funding to stabilize our programs. Unfortunately, not only was there no funding to sustain child care programs, there was no mention of child care at all in the 2012 Provincial budget.
Unwilling to back down, the campaign continued. We continued to direct advocates to www.waitingforchildcare.ca to send a message to their MPP. We also continued to profile centres feeling the pressure on www.childcarenow.ca
Nearly a month later Premier Dalton McGuinty announced that he would be proposing an infusion of $242 million in child care funding over 3 years to the Ontario budget.
McGuinty Steps Up for Kids: Announces child care funding
Friday April 20th 2012 - Premier Dalton McGuinty made a statement with regards to child care funding. This comes after significant pressure from Ontario's NDP that the government address the child care crisis in this year's budget.
We have confirmed that this funding is new money and will be on top of the transitional funding announced two years ago that is “growing to $63 million” by 2015.
$90 million in 2012-13
$68 million in 2013-14
$84 million in 2014-15
From the Premier's announcement:
"Today I spoke with Ms. Horwath about these discussions and indicated a willingness to work together to reach an agreement.
I confirmed that we are taking action to make our budget stronger in two areas: child care and the Ontario Disability Support Program.
These steps can be taken within the government’s fiscal plan and by finding savings in less important programs.
To ensure the child care sector remains strong and can help families experience a seamless transition to full-day kindergarten, we will provide additional assistance to child care operators.
The additional funding will give new support to the child care sector and is found within the Ministry of Education’s existing budget allocation."
The consensus in the child care sector remains that $287 million per year is the amount needed to stabilize our current programs. With this new announcement, next year will see stabilization funding of about $150 million – far short of what is needed.
This new funding does not solve the child care crisis, it does not “save” all child care programs and we will continue to see closures of child care centres and reductions in numbers of spaces. However, it will go a long way towards keeping some programs open.
Liberals sweeten the pot for NDP on budget vote - Toronto Sun
McGuinty acquiesces to 2 NDP demands ahead of Tuesday's crucial budget vote - The Canadian Press
Ontario Liberals agree to NDP budget demands - CBC
McGuinty accepts NDP budget demands on child care, welfare - CP24 (includes video)
Advocacy in Action: Ontario's child care community raises profile of funding crisis during budget negotiations
Leading up to the budget we mobilized thousands of parents to contact their MPP as part of www.childcarematterstome.ca. Helping parents speak out about the importance of child care is the most effective way of showing the value of child care.
Putting a face on the crisis for child care centres: www.childcarenow.ca shows the vital work that you do and what is at stake if we lose our community-based child care programs. Leading up to the budget we released a profile every day and shared it through social media. A letter was sent to local MPP's to alert them of the profile.
On Friday April 20th, our coordinator Andrea Calver spoke at the press conference launching the new campaign – We Are Ontario. WE ARE ONTARIO is a grassroots coalition of labour and community groups that believe that good jobs and public services are essential for economic recovery. Together, we are calling on the Ontario Government to invest in people, not profit.
On Saturday April 21st 2012, thousands of Ontarians from across the province came together at Queen’s Park to stand up for the Ontario they believe in. The child care community was proud to stand alongside the labour movement, community activists, parents and kids to stand up for public services and good jobs.
The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care’s Katie Arnup spoke out about the shameful fact that 4 out of 5 Ontario kids to not have access to a licensed child care space.
This amazing event was captured on video by Alex Lisman: