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April 28, 2003
Children's Advocate urges Premier to use federal funding to restore licensed child care
On Friday, April 25, Councillor Olivia Chow, Children and Youth Advocate,
released the following open letter to Premier Ernie Eves, as part of the City
of Toronto's ongoing campaign for a fair deal on child-care funding:

Dear Premier Eves:
Your government has requested advice from the public on the upcoming Speech
from the Throne. It is unfortunate, however, that your government has not
created the opportunity for a real consultation with the people of Ontario. If
it had, you would have heard a great deal about the deteriorating state of the
province's social infrastructure and the effect that deterioration is having on
working families. Our hospitals, schools, child welfare and social housing
systems are all under enormous stress and require immediate government

The same is true for the licensed child-care system. The policies of your
government have led to a serious erosion of a system that thousands of Ontario
families rely on. The situation in Toronto is particularly grave. Since 1997
the Province has cut $11.9 million from the annual budget of Toronto's
child-care system. The number of subsidized spaces is at its lowest level since
1992. The future of the entire system - both subsidized and non-subsidized - is
now in jeopardy.

The underfunding continues despite the availability of considerable federal
funding to support child care. This year your government will receive more than
$200 million in federal funding for early learning and care initiatives, yet
none of this money has been committed to restoring lost funding for licensed
child care, let alone expand service to meet increasing demand.

Your government claims to support "parent choice" in child care. What parents
clearly want is access to safe and secure licensed care in which their children
can also receive the benefits of early learning. Your policies are forcing many
parents into unmonitored informal care arrangements. Real parent choice is not
possible if the licensed system is further eroded.

I urge you to use the Throne Speech to announce a renewed commitment to
licensed child care throughout the province. In particular, I urge you to
invest $18.6 million of the available federal funds to preserve and stabilize
the Toronto's in licensed child care system, to prevent further service
erosion, and to sustain the system for the long-term.

If you have any doubts about the importance of licensed child care to the lives
of parents and children, I invite you to join me in visiting a Toronto child
care centre. I am certain that speaking with parents, children and staff will
convince you of the value of licensed child care and the need to fund it

Sincerely, Councillor Olivia Chow, Children and Youth Advocate

Media Contact
Councillor Olivia Chow



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