Daycares across Toronto could close — forcing working parents out of jobs and into their homes — unless Premier Dalton McGuinty’s cash-strapped government replaces a $63.5-million federal funding cut.
“Premier McGuinty, the ball is in your court,” said Andrea Claver, of the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care.
Without a restoration of the money, “we will see a catastrophic collapse” in the childcare system, Calver said.
The $63.5 million is the last installment of a childcare program started up by the federal government under former prime minister Paul Martin.
When the Conservatives were elected in 2006, one of their first moves was to cancel the program when its budgeted funding ran out, which will happen this year,
The money supports 7,600 daycare spaces in Toronto, Calver said.
Anissa Quawe, who is expecting her second child, said her three-year-old son’s subsidized daycare space is the only thing which allows her to work at her full-time job, and she’d have to quit and go on employment insurance or welfare if she loses it.
The coalition brought out about 70 children and their parents to bounce beach balls on the south lawn at Queen’s Park Friday, March 19 2010 to drive home their point but they face an uphill climb.
Finance Minister Dwight Duncan’s budget next week must show a plan for how Ontario will deal with its $24.7-billion deficit and little in the way of new spending is expected.
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