July 16th, 2020

NDP calls on Ford to support child care so parents can get back to work

QUEEN’S PARK — Doly Begum, Ontario NDP Early Learning and Child Care critic, is calling on the Ford government to step up with support for the child care sector before centres are forced to close permanently or hike fees, and before working parents have to quit their jobs to stay home with their kids. In the absence of provincial funding, many child care centres face enormous barriers to welcoming kids back under the new rules for re-opening. Begum was joined for a virtual press conference Thursday by parents who are struggling without child care.

“Parents are hanging on by a thread after months of looking after their little ones full time from home, all while trying to keep up with the rest of their commitments, like work,” said Begum. “Many of them, including many women, won’t be able to return to work without child care or without a full, safe re-opening of schools in the fall.”

“Instead of prioritizing child care, the Ford government is dictating re-opening rules to operators and refusing to provide the funding needed to meet them. This is only taking things from bad to worse in the middle of a pandemic — child care was already too expensive and too scarce.”

The NDP continues to call on the government to:

  • Create a plan to maintain access to child care by boosting capacity under the re-opening rules.
  • Provide immediate funding to stabilize the child care sector to prevent fee increases and layoffs.
  • Consult with municipalities to find ways to use available public infrastructure so that school and child care centres can resume in-person for as many children as possible in a safe and healthy way.
  • Engage child care advocates, RECEs and child care operators in re-opening planning.
  • Guarantee that no essential workers currently receiving emergency child care will lose child care provision when the emergency child care program ends.
  • Guarantee that parents will be able to access paid, job-protected leave until school and child care fully resumes.
  • Ensure the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy remains available to child care operators by working with the federal government.

“Working parents with little ones deserve so much better than a government that ignores their child care needs,” said Begum. “We should be doing more to guarantee access to affordable, quality, public child care, not putting existing spaces — and the province’s economic recovery — at risk.”


Bronwen Alsop
“Parents like me need a formal child care plan to ensure we can pursue going back to work to provide for our families, and we don’t have that right now. I’m lost, and the government is not providing me with any concrete direction. I feel like I am being robbed of all of my rights as a woman and I that I’m being forced to give up any opportunity to ever work again. I feel like we are going straight back to the 1950’s.”

Megan Kinch
“While the construction industry has picked back up (it never stopped) and many being called back to work, I cannot go back. Normally I would now have my child in City of Toronto-run summer camps, which are affordable and located in my neighbourhood, but they are closed. I am especially concerned about the government of Ontario’s plan to for September, which at the moment is for every-other-day school. This is a disaster for me as I would not be able to go back to work.”

Stephanie Fleming
“My child’s daycare remains closed because they are unable to open without policy changes and/or financial support from the provincial government. When I look for work now, I feel very limited in where I can apply. Should I be looking for strictly work from home situations? If students can attend school only twice a week, will I be able to find an accommodating employer to understand my need for flexibility? How realistic is that scenario?”

Video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?t=249&v=KWN1dEsFBVM&feature=youtu.be