I was able to work when I was young mother, I was able to work and support my family because we had access to child care and a subsidy. I know this issue both at a personal level and from my professional work, looking at children’s wellbeing.
#Ward19 families facing the biggest shortage of licensed child care live in these two postal codes: M4L (39% kids have local childcare available); M4C (38% coverage). In the rest of the ward parents still struggle to find child care, as there is child care spaces for less than half the kids in the ward.
The City of Toronto has a 10- year ”growth strategy” to make affordable, high-quality, licensed child care available to more Toronto families. The multi-year plan depends on funding from the federal, provincial and municipal governments. The strategy is to achieve the following by 2026:
- increase the number of licensed child care spaces by 30,000 in the not-for-profit sector to provide for 50% of children 0-4 yrs.
- lower fees by 50% for all families through direct-operating grants
- increase fee subsidies to ensure 40% of all spaces are available for low-income families
- increase salaries for early childhood professionals
- add resources for indigenous and special needs programs
In 2018, the city budget was to include $11.2M to match federal and provincial funding with 20% municipal dollars. Instead this was cut and spread out over 3 years. The Doug Ford government promised tax credits during the election, and has been unclear about its intentions for child care funding.
In a 2018 report, the City Auditor General recommended eliminating City-run child care and contracting the services to the non-for-profit sector. City-run child care sets the benchmark for program quality, salaries and service to low-income communities and special needs children. The costs are higher as a result. Council over-turned the AG recommendations, and have requested a further report.
Council approved creating a modern waitlist technology and a system to reduce the confusion and increase fairness for accessing child care spaces in Toronto. The subsidy system continues to be hard to understand and access.
With the election of the new provincial government, we have now seen the cap on for-profit child care removed. This will effect the quality of child care delivery and divert public dollars into for-profit enterprises.
East End families need access to high-quality, affordable, not-for- profit child care services. If elected I will work with parents, child care advocates and community organizations to:
- Protect public funding for non-profit centres
- Expedite implementation of the Child Care Growth Strategy
- Keep City-operated child care services in current and new locations
- Broaden eligibility for fee subsidy to more families, particularly part-time and shift workers, and streamline the application and approval process
- Pay decent salaries to child care staff