July 23rd, 2020

NDP calls for investment to get classrooms and daycares open in September

BRAMPTON--NDP Early Learning and Child Care critic Doly Begum and Education critic Marit Stiles are urging the Ford government to reverse course on its pursuit of a hybrid model for school in the fall that will hurt children and families, and to get more child care spaces online quickly.

"Throughout the pandemic, parents have been struggling to work from home while also supporting learning for their children; and, for those working outside home, scrambling to find safe child care arrangements," Begum said. "With the lockdown easing and the Ford government proposing a hybrid back-to-school model that would see kids in classes only part of the time, finding child care where child care spaces have already been thrown into question by Doug Ford's cuts is more stressful than ever."

Reporting by Newstalk 1010 confirms what NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said in the legislature earlier this week: only about 40 per cent of child care centres have reopened, all at less than full capacity. Of 5,523 daycares, only 2,265 are open.

Doug Ford's 2019 budget included a swath of cuts to municipal services, including a cut by half to funding for early learning and child care centres. Ford's government now refuses to invest money to help child care centres hire additional staff and find alternate spaces.

"In the middle of a pandemic, the Ford government is making a bad child care situation dire for families, making limited spaces even less available, and forcing operators to close or hike their fees," Stiles said.

The NDP is urging the Ford government to reverse its cuts to child care and help fund the child care sector's safe reopening by giving them funding to pay for PPE, enhanced cleaning supplies and additional staff; while also lining up more teachers and education workers and more classrooms so kids can safely return to school in September.

“Instead of hoping parents will have a safe place for their kids to learn in September, it’s the government’s job to make it happen,” said Stiles.