June 12th, 2020

Ford leaving child care centres in lurch means hiked fees for families: NDP

The Ford government must help fund the sector’s safe reopening

QUEEN’S PARK – The Ontario NDP critic for Early Learning and Childcare, MPP Doly Begum, says the Ford government‘s failure to support child care operators in safely reopening means centres will be forced to raise their fees.

NDP MPPs across the province have gotten letters from constituents saying their local child care operator has informed them of a plan to hike parent fees, in some cases up to four times the current amount.

“Child care in Ontario was already in crisis, with parents paying the highest child care costs in Canada,” Begum said. “Now we see Doug Ford telling child care centres they’re on their own to bear the necessary costs of ensuring children’s safety in a pandemic: limiting enrolment, increasing staff, securing PPE and adding screening, cleaning and disinfecting measures. The Ford government’s failure to help fund these necessary costs means child care fees in Ontario are about to get even less affordable.”

York South-Weston constituent *Viviana Villani Moniz contacted her local NDP MPP Faisal Hassan after she was told by her child’s day care, York Humber Child Care Centre, that, without additional funding from the government, it will have to increase fees by three to four times due to costs necessary to ensure children’s safety.

“I was already paying a full fee before the pandemic started – $1,200-1,400 per month – and that was almost unbearable as it was,” Viviana said. “I would like to ask how our government plans to support these centres and parents with added expenses to already unaffordable child care?”

Donna Spreitzer, a registered ECE and the executive director of Jackman Community Daycare in Toronto, said the Ford government’s announcement Tuesday to reopen child care centres as early as Friday presents “an impossible timeline, one that is setting child care centres up for failure.” She noted funding is needed to help centres pay for necessities including PPE, enhanced cleaning supplies and additional cleaning staff.

"Child care centres are critical to ensuring Ontario’s economic recovery, and critical to supporting Ontario's workforce, especially women," said MPP Begum. "Doug Ford must give child care centres the financial support they need to ensure a safe reopening for children and staff without hiking fees for parents.”