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June 6, 2003
Advocate calls on City Council to save 500 child care spaces
  
Without the immediate investment of $7.9 million, Toronto will lose 500
subsidized child care spaces this year and suffer further erosion of its child
care system. "Because of provincial underfunding, Toronto has lost over 1,700
child care spaces in the past year. We cannot afford to lose another 500," said
Councillor Olivia Chow, Toronto's Children's Advocate. "I will be urging City
Council to provide emergency funding to stabilize the system while we continue
to pursue adequate provincial funding."

A total of $7.9 million is required to keep the 500 spaces open, cover child
care operators' inflationary costs and pay for needed health and safety
upgrades. The Community Services Committee will address the child care crisis
when it meets on Monday June 9 at 9:30 a.m. Elected representatives from the
three provincial political parties have been invited to make presentations to
the meeting outlining their parties' approach to solving the child care crisis.
The Liberal and NDP critics have indicated they will be present.

The committee will consider a staff report which says that a shortfall in
provincial funding means that the City cannot afford to maintain its current
level of 22,720 subsidized child care spaces and must cut 500 spaces. Last year
1,616 spaces had to be eliminated due to a lack of provincial funding and
earlier this year an additional 160 spaces were lost.

The number of subsidized child care spaces is already at its lowest level since
1992. Since 1997, the provincial government has cut its annual funding to child
care in Toronto by $11.8 million.

Despite increasing funding support by the City of Toronto, provincial
underfunding has resulted in serious erosion of Toronto's child care
system."Queen's Park has created the child care crisis in Toronto," said
Councillor Chow. "Even though the Province will receive over $200 million in
federal funding for early childhood initiatives this year, it refuses to put
one nickel of that money into licensed child care for Toronto families."

Councillor Chow went on to say, "The City of Toronto has consistently done its
part to support the child care system. We should not have to pay the price for
the Province's irresponsibility but this is an emergency and I hope that City
Council will once again step into the breach and prevent any further loss of
child care service."

In an ongoing public campaign for a new deal for child care, the City of
Toronto has been calling on the provincial government to invest a total of
$18.6 million dollars this year to stabilize and restore Toronto's child care
system.


Media Contact
Councillor Chow
416-392-4044

 

 

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