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TCBCC Deputation to Budget Committee December 2, 2013

We have good news for you! The City of Toronto will be receiving an increase of $20 million in annualized provincial Child Care funding, starting in 2014! The City of Toronto now has the ability to act immediately and over the following years – to relieve some of the extraordinary pressures on our child care system.
Read the full TCBCC Deputation to the Budget Committee

Good Morning Committee Members and fellow Councillors.

My Name is Jane Mercer and I speaking on behalf of the Toronto Coalition for Better Child Care. Thank-you for giving us the opportunity to speak to this very important budget.
The recommendations in this Deputation  have NO Financial impact on Toronto.
I have good news for you! The City of Toronto WILL BE RECEIVING an increase of $20 million in annualized, PROVINCAL Child Care funding, starting in 2014! . .This is breaking News and VERY Good News for Toronto.
It will allow you to act IMMEDIATELY and over the following years – to relieve some of the extraordinary pressures on our child care system, on behalf of the thousands of families who need access to affordable, high quality child care. We know that at both the July and October Council Meetings of this year you tried hard to address some of these pressures – with an increase of $20 million in 100% PROVINCIAL funding . . . NOW – YOU – CAN – ACT:
Our Recommendations, Members of Council are YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS
Recommendation #1:  Restore and Keep wage subsidy payments available for child care centres as they re-configure services for younger children, until such time as the new funding model has been developed and is implemented.
In July Council requested (unanimously) that the General Manager report on the feasibility of doing exactly this. The decision to claw back was incredibly unfair, short sighted and frankly VERY damaging. We appreciate that staff are trying to allocate resources to areas of greatest need – but it is imperative that this NOT be done on the backs of other Parents, children and across our CITY-WIDE child care system. (this is like starting to tear down the Gardiner and later realize you wanted it re-modeled).
Clawing Back the Wage Subsidy and pushing costs onto Parents was not a Provincial decision – it was a CITY decision. . .  And it was not a City Council decision – it was a STAFF decision . . .
It is the first time EVER that this grant has been clawed back from Centres –  by any level of government and it has made the City very unpopular.
As FDK rolled out it, rocked our child care system and Parents across Toronto lobbied the Provincial Government like never before – INVEST MORE in Child Care – and when the Province did just that – those SAME PARENTS are understandably angry when this City decision causes their Fees to go up again!
So we urge you Reverse the Wage Subsidy Claw Back. . . . Not only is it now very FEASIBLE it is the right thing to do! . . and it will set us back on the right track.
Recommendation #2:  Increase Children’s Services equity service standards for Infant, Toddler and Preschool groups by 528 subsidized spaces.
In October Council supported the Committee recommendation that the necessary resources be included in this budget (subject to Budget Committee review) Budget Committee did not know about the forthcoming $20 million – Now they do . . These are PROVINCIAL Child Care dollars – You can’t spend them on anything other than CHILD CARE – and we know you are not sending them back!
Recommendation #3:  INVEST EVERY ONE OF THIS $20 Million into expanding stabilizing and expanding this system  - NOTHING more should be going into reserves . . . with this kind of investment from the Province . . . You can move ahead with your community child care partners (we deliver 94% of your child care) – support and expand our child care system.
The Child Care programs in the community deliver 94% of the child care across Toronto – we are YOUR BEST PARTNERS –  work with us and we will continue to lobby the Provincial and bring even more dollars flowing for child care

Posted in Uncategorized, Winter Update 2013.

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