Child care advocates are calling on the provincial government to take immediate action on early learning and child care in light of media reports that the government tolerates poor quality in child care programs that they continue to license.
“If the provincial government had kept their promise in the last election to spend $300 million in new funding, we could have been well on our way to creating the coherent system that’s needed, rather than continuing to prop up a myriad of patchwork arrangements” said Elizabeth Ablett, OCBCC Executive Director in response to recent media reports on licensing violations in child care programs.
Ontario’s early learning and child care system provides high quality, reliable and developmentally challenging care for children. However, years of underfunding and policy neglect have resulted in a patchwork system where high-quality programs struggle to maintain their standards and keep their doors open, and the majority of children don’t have access to a licensed child care space.
At the same time, the provincial government continues to ignore the best available knowledge that clearly shows that high quality early learning and child care is solidly connected to adequate funding and good policy – a well-supported system, not a market.
The OCBCC is calling on the provincial government to finally begin to develop an early learning and child care system. This must include direct funding – not parent subsidies or vouchers. The system requires public financing to public and not-for-profit programs only; a moratorium on new for-profit centres; targets and timetables for achieving a high quality, universal system for all children; an infrastructure to develop and support high quality; and well-trained and paid staff at all levels.
"This government has had almost four years prove its commitment by beginning to build this kind of a system. Instead, provincial funding has barely increased since they were elected. It's a drop in the bucket when you consider the very sorry situation that Ontario's children face", said OCBCC President Shellie Bird. "Sadly, this story of the Ontario government tolerating very low quality child care is an old story that advocates and the media have been decrying for 25 years. It's not that we don't know how to improve the situation. What's lacking is political will."