Dear Minister Naidoo-Harris,
Ontario’s child care costs are a huge challenge for parents, and it’s no surprise that we are seeing very concerning media stories about parents feeling the pinch. The fact is, your political decision-making is making life more unaffordable for families.
Last fall, I spoke about the average price of child care in Toronto being $20,000, and $15,000 in Ottawa. It is expensive across the province. Some families can’t afford the expense at all. It’s getting worse. Recent fee hikes at daycares are happening province-wide.
In addition, wait lists at daycares remain to be a challenge, plus there are insufficient spaces available. Your rushed policies in advance of an election will not help the situation. Daycare operators may think twice before expanding or staying open, and new prospective operators may choose not to open at all. (Not to mention that it is also a problem that approvals for new child care spaces are taking too long.)
Your funding re-announcement today will present challenges as the funds will likely be very difficult to access. Daycare operators will have to work their way through the system to access these funds, which could take months or more.
The Ontario PCs have made child care an important part of our plan to make life more affordable for families, and to get Ontario back on track.
As part of the People’s Guarantee, we consulted with industry experts on a plan to make child care more affordable for low-income and middle-income families. We created the new Ontario Child Care Refund that will pay up to 75 per cent of child care expenses. We will also commit to building 100,000 licensed child care spaces.
Now more than ever, it’s clear that action is need on this important file. I am writing to you today to ask that your government to do the following to make life easier for countless families across our province:
- Create a new Ontario Child Care Refund that would pay up to 75 per cent of a family’s child care expenses, or up to $6,750 per child.
- Mandate that all new elementary schools include some form of child care spaces, be that all-day or before and after school care facilities.
- Simplify and speed up approvals for new child care spaces under the Child Care and Early Years Act without reducing standards.
- Phase in the minimum wage from $14 to $15 an hour in a responsible manner, over four years.
Thank you for your consideration,
Leader of the Official Opposition