The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care has rebutted Ottawa Councillor Mathieu Fleury’s statements that the province is directing cities to withdraw from municipal child care services.
“Mr. Fleury seems to want to make the Ministry of Education responsible for the closure of Beausoleil Child Care Centre, when in fact the decision is the City’s” says Carolyn Ferns. The Ministry of Education has verified that it is within a municipality’s discretion to operate child care programs. There is no provincial policy directing municipalities to withdraw from operating child care centres or not."
“It is shocking that the city is closing a child care centre despite a recent infusion of provincial capital funding to create additional child care spaces in schools,” said Ferns. “This move certainly appears to be inconsistent with the 2015 Child Care Services Plan adopted by the Ottawa City Council and is counter-productive to the initiative by the province to increase the number of child care spaces.”
Municipal child care centres have been shown to have some of the highest quality programming and often address specific gaps in child care. In the case of Beausoleil, child care services are provided in French with the majority of infants and children from low-income households. Furthermore, Beausoleil provides child care for infants from 6 months of age, which is extremely difficult to locate, and this in the neighbourhood identified as having the greatest need for subsidized spaces in the entire City.
"Publicly delivered child care should form the backbone of our child care in Ontario and every municipality must do its utmost to be a true service system manager and a careful steward of these vital programs."
“This closure makes no sense for parents, children and communities,” said Ferns. “I sincerely hope Mathieu Fleury and the City of Ottawa reconsider their decision.”
Public Policy and Government Relations Coordinator
Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care / Coalition ontarienne pour de meilleurs services éducatifs