July 9, 2008 - Hamilton
The Ministry of Children and Youth Services announced the allocation of $25 million from the 2008 Provincial Budget.
Most of the money, $23 million, will be spent on 3,000 additional child care subsidies. The high cost of child care means tens of thousands of children are on waiting lists for a child care subsidy. In Toronto alone the waiting list for a subsidized space is more than 15,000 children.
"Child care can cost more than $10,000 a year. Unfortunately, some children grow up on child care subsidy waiting lists and miss the opportunity to have high quality early learning and child care. The system of subsidies will always leave out children who need early learning and care. We need a universal access to affordable child care, not another patch in the patchwork of child care" said Cheryl Degras, Co-President of the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care.
Only 12% of Ontario families have access to a licensed child care space. Waiting lists demonstrate that many parents would choose licensed child care over informal care if they had the opportunity.
Today's $25 million dollars was part of the 2008 Provincial Budget. In contrast, Quebec allocated $600 million dollars, over 5 years in their 2008 budget.
Manitoba recently announced a 5 year plan that will see annual child care spending rise by $92 million dollars over 5 years.
"Ontario is falling behind. Other countries and even our neighbouring provinces to the east and west are making long-term significant funding commitments for affordable, accessible child care. We can do it too, and we expect a long-term funding plan in the 2009 budget, commented Andrea Calver, Communications Director, OCBCC.
The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care (OCBCC) represents the voices of over 500 members including organizations, agencies, childcare centres, and individuals across the province advocating for universally accessible, high quality, non-profit regulated child care in Ontario.