Just days away from the release of a provincial budget on March 27, advocates for quality accessible child care are concerned that Ontario’s already low spending
on regulated child care will sink to a new low. Once a leader in funding for regulated child care, Ontario now trails Manitoba and other provinces in spending.
Until 2001, Ontario was the leader in its commitment to fund child care. Since being surpassed –more than a decade ago – in spending per regulated child care space by several provinces including Manitoba, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, Ontario has never led again.
By 2008, at $3040, Ontario’s spending per regulated space had dropped considerably from
the 1995 figure of $3664 per space while Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Newfoundland, as well as the Yukon continued to spend more per space than Ontario.
“The amount that Ontario – our most populous province – is spending on child care is woefully inadequate,” says Candace Rennick, the secretary-treasurer of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.
Comparing Manitoba’s and Ontario’s spending on regulated child care using a different measure, Ontario was also the leader in spending for each child aged 0-12 in the province until 2001, when once again Manitoba surpassed Ontario. Using this measure, Manitoba at $606 per child, the Yukon at $1,415, Quebec at $ 1,694 still surpassed Ontario at $414 in 2008. That trend continues today.
“There are many Ontario families who want to believe the provincial Liberals will see the merit of investing in child care in this budget as our economy makes a fragile recovery. Making a commitment to increase spending on child care is both good economic policy to support parents re-entering the workforce and a good social policy to support families. We can’t fall any further behind other provinces,” says Rennick.
When it comes to child care, Ontario is falling behind on several fronts. In addition to low per regulated space spending levels, Ontario is the only province in which families deemed eligible for a subsidy are wait-listed.
“Because of provincial underfunding, thousands of Ontario parents are on wait-lists scrambling to find quality child care. Cutting funding or even status quo funding in this budget will sink Ontario to a new low and will mean more families will be without the child care they need,” says Rennick.
For more information, please contact:
Candace Rennick, Secretary-Treasurer, CUPE Ontario, 705-768-2288
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications, 416-559-9300