5,000-signature petition challenges government proposals for lower standards for licensed child care in Ontario
WINDSOR, ON – A group of Windsor families, child care centre operators and child care professionals dropped off a 5,000-signature child care petition yesterday at the office of MPP Lisa Gretzky and used the occasion to take Education Minister Liz Sandals to task over her recent comments on proposed changes to existing child care regulations.
In an earlier statement to media, Minister Sandals claimed, “The proposed changes to age grouping, ratios, group size and staff qualifications will strengthen quality, increase access and reflect the feedback we received from childcare licensees.”
But child care advocates charge that the minister is peddling the false perception that changes to regulations will improve the quality and availability of licensed child care. Instead, they argue, the proposed regulations will achieve exactly the opposite by producing the following changes:
- Changes to age ratios that will see 12- to 18-month-olds cared for alongside toddlers up to 2 years of age, with potentially dangerous consequences for younger children’s safety;
- Age groupings that ignore best theory and practice for child growth and development;
- Losses of infant child care spaces that will mean more expense and less choice for parents without access to paid parental leave (e.g. students, self-employed, people in low-paid or precarious jobs).
“We are 100 per cent behind any real efforts to create new spaces and ensure the quality of child care available to Ontario families,” said Kim Gilbert, who is a parent, early childhood educator (ECE) and child care representative for the Ontario Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
“But through these proposed changes, the Liberal government is attempting to weaken staff-to-child ratios and ignore the best advice in the field of child development around how and with whom children learn best.
“We won’t stand by and let it happen.”
Unlike legislation, regulatory proposals can be made by the government in power following a 45-day comment period; the period for these proposals ends Friday, April 1.
More information about the changes is available at www.childcareontario.org/ontario_s_proposed_regulation_changes.
For more information, please contact:
Kim Gilbert, Child Care Representative, Social Services Committee, CUPE Ontario, 519-817-2579
Carrie Lynn Cotnam-Poole, Chair, Social Services Committee, CUPE Ontario, 613-864-1061
Mary Unan, CUPE Communications, 647-390-9839