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Minister acknowledges ‘challenges’ to families as daycares raise costs due to minimum wage hike – Toronto Star

Taryn Aitken

Mother, Taryn Aitken said her daycare costs have gone up by $368 per month due to Ontario’s minimum wage hike. (Michael Aitkins/CBC)


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Posted in Child Care in the News, Your Voice.

Did Children’s Services cut your budget and say it was because your staff are overpaid and you had too many staff?

97% of programs have City daily rates that do not cover their full fee cost!

The most common reasons for refusal to pay full fee costs:

  • Staff are overpaid
  • Programs had too many staff
  • Overall program costs are too high
  • Administration costs are too high
  • They wanted Child Care Programs to pay less for food
  • Too much spent on housekeeping supplies
  • Staff Benefits are too expensive
This from a department that in its “Growth Strategy Report” states
  •  Investments in salaries are also investments in affordability. Low public fees contribute to low salaries and difficulty recruiting and retaining staff which impacts the quality of learning environments. Building a thriving workforce is an important pillar of the Growth Strategy. To achieve this, actions must improve recruitment and retention through appropriate salaries and stable jobs.
  • Investment was necessary in key areas … <including> administration … as necessary supports for successful growth

This from a department that in its highly touted “Raising the Village Report” states

    • only 1 in 5 children get the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables
    • 1 in 3 food bank visits are made by children.
This from a department whose own own childcare programs have set a great standard by having among the highest pay scales for its employees, the best employee benefit programs and the among highest administration costs in the sector in Toronto
This from a department whose inspection department has produced volumes of assessments and guidelines with hundreds of items including on food, housekeeping and administration that the city inspectors come in to rate and post publicly.  This is in addition to provincial inspections for compliance to quality standards.

Posted in Your Voice.

$1MM being cut from the net budget for Child Care!

Deputation to Budget Committee- January 10,2018

Thank-you for the opportunity to speak to this Budget. My Name is Jane Mercer and I’m speaking on behalf of the Toronto Coalition for Better Child Care, we represent over 20,000 families in our member centres and speak for thousands more who desperately need access to affordable, high quality child care.

Councillors YOU have told Torontonians again and again over the last term that you understand CHILD CARE is vital to our  City – You have told us you understand young families will not be able to LIVE and WORK in this City without it . . . .  that you understand that child care supports not only the workforce of today but our future workforce as well.

Your commitment has never been as strong as when. . . .

This Summer Toronto’s 10 year Child Care Growth Strategy – called for significant Investment from ALL 3 levels of government – and it was adopted by YOU, Council virtually unanimously 😊. . . We were so excited and thankful for the leadership you showed at such a critical time and we believe it was instrumental in bringing the Province and the Federal governments to the table.

Thanks to YOUR leadership . . . The Province and the Federal governments HAVE come to the table and they have come with $56 million for child care IN Toronto over 2017/2018 – and with the City’s commitment to match these $$ by 20% PARENTS knew that we would finally be growing MORE child Care space, MORE child care subsidies, and lowering Parent Fees!

So what Happened .???

In this Budget . . .There is NO NEW INVESTMENT from the CITY of Toronto . . . NONE of what COUNCIL committed to just a couple of months ago . . .

Now . . we don’t know exactly HOW this budget process works . . . We don’t fully understand What goes in to it at this stage and what doesn’t and Who makes those decisions  . . . . it appears as though most of the Provincial $$ have been added in (but not all of them) . . . it appears as though funding for increase in City staff has been added in . . .

So . . . why was the promised INVESTMENT of City $$ to INCREASE subsidies and Lower Parent fees NOT added in? . . . In fact to our horror there is 1 million being CUT! From the net budget . . .

We’re SAVING money for the city on Child Care???

Again, I will concede we do NOT exactly understand how THIS budget made it to the table but PARENTS DO UNDERSTAND that it is their Councillors that make the FINAL decision –

And So we URGE you to KEEP your PROMISE to PARENTS TO INVEST in Child Care


Make sure that EVERY Federal, Provincial and City Child Care dollar that has been committed - makes it’s way INTO this budget and . . . ALL the way through to delivering service on the frontline.

That means PUT IT DIRECTLY into:

  • Child care subsides for low income families
  • General Operating Funding to reduce Parent Fees and improve salaries
  • And Pay Child Care programs their TRUE and actual costs – because that Gap between Actual Costs and the Per Diems paid by the City – is One very big reason why Parents Fees keep going UP!

Posted in Deputations, Your Voice.

Children’s Services unwilling to pay full fee cost for 97% of Programs!

Deputation: Budget 2018 – Jan 10th 2018


My name is June Hall, I am a Board member of the Toronto Coalition for Better Child Care and Director of Main Square Day Care centre.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to you this afternoon

On behalf of Toronto Coalition for Better Child Care I surveyed 119 not-for profit day care centres within its total membership.  We were concerned that the City of Toronto had not paid the rates the day cares had budged for.  We conducted a survey in the late fall of 2017 among our members to see if the City was paying their rates as budgeted by the day care centres.     This survey was conducted among the TCBCC membership.

Participant Details

  • 119 day care centres were sent surveys
  • 48 surveys were returned, which represents a 40 % response rate (which is a very good return rate for an external online survey)
  • 31 wards were represented in these responses
  • This included a total of 5639 licensed spaces Of which 1936 were subsidy spaces And 2880.50 were full fee
  • 822.50 of the total spaces were vacant


Our data showed on average child care fees were underfunded by the City of Toronto for 2017 by the following amounts;

  • Infants—$4.68 per day per child
  • Toddlers-$4.49 per day per child
  • Preschool 4.57 per day per child
  • Kindergarten $ 4.09 per day per child
  • School Age $ 3.17 per day per child

The budget year starts in January and the City did not confirm rates until May.

When they did confirm rates, it was far less than programs had budgeted for and by then it was too late to adjust expenses.

Based on a 40% response rate child care programs lost $750,102.17.  If these numbers are the same for the remaining 60% who did not respond, we are potentially looking at a figure in excess of 1 million dollars.

The most common reasons given by City staff for these cuts were;

  • Staff are overpaid.  Does the City want us to pay our staff less?
  • Program costs are too high. Program requirements are dictated by the Province and City and we are responding to those requirements.
  • Administration costs are high. How do we attract good people?
  • They want us to pay less for food. How do we do that? (gift cards from Loblaws)
  • We spend too much on housekeeping supplies. Do they want us not to have a clean and sanitary day care?
  • Staff benefits are too expensive. The benefits we give are staff are less than what the City of Toronto gives similar staff and it goes on and on.

Our survey indicates in order to meet these rate cuts by the City of Toronto cuts will occur across all aspects of the budget including staff salaries and benefits, food for the children etc. etc.

Rates will have to increase for non-subsidized families.

The City has in fact reduced funding in the system by compromising good quality programs.  You can’t expand good quality programs if you are taking money out of the system.

If you underpay child care programs parents have to pay more.

Posted in Deputations, Your Voice.

Is this your experience?

June Hall, Director of Main Square Daycare and Board member at TCBCC, deputed to CDRC October 23rd 2017 on the City’s Child Care Growth Strategy – Phase One Implementation (2017 – 2019).

“In September of 2016, the City stopped placing subsidies for children 3.8years and older.  Our centre laid off a staff including paying severance, and we cut over $30,000 from our program budget.   On Nov 2016, our program submitted our annual budget for 2017.  It took too long for the City to get back to us.  We had already paid out expenses for our 2017 operating year, and then we found out that the City was going to be cutting $23,706 from our budget.  Programs need to be notified before the budget year starts, and <they need> be able to participate in a two-way conversation, about the details of any adjustment. The current environment does not allow programs to expand and be supported.  if we can’t communicate in a timely manner, expansion is too difficult.”

Do you have a story to share?  Tell us about it so we can show Council the evidence of what Children’s Services policies and practices are doing to our centres.  Let’s make June’s deputation summary a reality for us all – “Expansion is expected by city residents, is possible by centres that operate programs, but it relies on appropriate and reliable funding! “

Posted in Your Voice.

OCBCC Update – Take Action to Celebrate Child Care Worker and Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day – Oct. 25 2017

We Create the Future – our theme for the 17th annual CCWAD sends the clear signal about the central role of child care workers and early childhood educators in “building a system with enough affordable child care spaces for all families who want them” that the government of Ontario has committed to do in its Five-Year Action Plan. Public policy is moving in the right direction, with expansion of 100,000 spaces for 0 – 4 years underway; a commitment to developing a Workforce Strategy; commissioned research to provide a pathway toward affordable fees and a commitment to limit expansion to the non-profit sector. Now we have to keep the pressure on to make sure that policy becomes reality.

We need you to take action to move our Three Big Ideas (affordable fees, decent work and expansion limited to the non-profit and public sector) about child care to reality:

  1. Phone or e-mail your MPP and urge her/him to attend the breakfast at Queen’s Park on Oct. 25. All MPPs need to be part of this conversation about early childhood education and care that plays a vital role in the social infrastructure of our province. (See the MPP invitation for more information)
  2. If you are in the area join us at Queen’s Park for Question Period at 10:30 a.m. To register, enter at the south basement of the Legislative Bldg., bring photo ID and allow time to check your coat and electronics. For the press conference at 12:15 p.m., register at security with your photo ID.
  3. Tell us how you are celebrating CCWAD this year – e-mail us at and post on Facebook and Twitter using hashtag #CCWAD2017 on Oct. 25
  4. Support the AECEO’s decent work and professional pay campaign if you haven’t already. Please sign the online pledge at

We are gearing up for community celebrations, proclamations from Mayors, Regional Councils and City Councillors across the province and kudos from parents and community partners. Our buttons and posters have made it to urban, rural and suburban communities in all corners of the province. In addition to the breakfast at Queen’s Park, we expect there will be questions in the House during Question Period at 10:30 am. We’ll aim to track the questions and answers for you, and you can watch Question Period online at At 12:15 we’ll host a press conference with the AECEO and focus on the necessity of decent work and professional pay for early childhood educators and child care workers and the requirement of sufficient public funding to make this happen without increasing parents’ fees.

Happy CCWAD!

Posted in Child Care in the News.

“An investment in a call for a better future for all!” – Councilor Michael Thompson (Chair) Economic Development Committee

On a directive from Council to assess the economic and social impacts of more affordable childcare on Toronto’s economy, Economic Development Committee received the following presentation/report on October 11th.   The Toronto Coalition for Better Child Care deputed to reinforce the benefits of the economic and social impacts of an accessible, high quality child care system in Toronto.

Child Care is a crucial part of our city’s infrastructure and it is crucial in every ward .  Our failure to address it in recent decades has been driving young families out of our city to Peel, Whitby, Hamilton, and the rest of the GTA, where they pay their taxes to those municipalities and they work out there . . . or . . . maybe they commute back in, overloading the roads and public transit.

We certainly cannot blame these young families.  It’s not their choice.  They have no other options.  This City is VERY expensive to live in – and a whole generation of young parents simply cannot stay here and will not be attracted here if they can’t get work . . . and you cannot get work if you cannot find affordable, high quality child care!

Councilor Thompson said it well.  “Like we invest in many other things <such as> planting trees, roads, a variety of other infrastructure development, children are the foundation of our infrastructure.  Without them, we don’t <need to> build roads, we don’t <need to> build condo’s, we don’t <need> to build anything!  <Without them)> We don’t build a society!”

Our message was direct!  This year’s City Budget 2018 will be crucial for child care – with BOTH senior levels of Government making such a significant investment in child care – All Parent eyes will be on the City’s Budget – we are looking for EVERY child care dollar promised to be in this budget and earmarked directly to the front line for MORE affordable, High Quality Child Care for families.

Posted in Your Voice.

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Come and join us!

The Toronto Coalition for Better Child Care invites “Super”visors to get together to take a break!
Hear “Super” speaker Sue Hunter share her energy and motivation because she’s been a “SUPER” visor too.
Join the TCBCC Team for lunch and the TCBCC AGM

Posted in TCBCC Campaigns/Events.

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Our Board is a working Board!

Our Board is a working Board that engages on behalf of the TCBCC in their own districts and networks – building capacity and responding to the needs of the community – bringing those ideas, concerns and feedback to the TCBCC table. These are some of the ways we do that:

  • All TCBCC Board Members participate in City led Child Care Supervisors Networks (bi-monthly with 70 – 100 attendees at each of the 10-12 networks). All of our Board Members play a strong leadership role at these Networks – engaging with their fellow operators and keeping the TCBCC in touch with community issues in the different districts. Two of our Board Members are District representatives (North and South) at the Toronto Child & Family Network.
  •  TCBCC Board Members sit on the following Committees across Toronto – engaging with the community and City (Children’s Services), School Boards and Ministry of Education:
    • Toronto Child & Family Network (TC&FN) – Working table #3 – on Workforce Development (40 attendees)
    • Children’s Services AQI working group (15 attendees)
    • TDSB Early Years Committee (40 attendees)
    • TDSB – EYC – Facilities working group (5 attendees)
    • TCDSB – Best Start (22 attendees)
    • Min. of Ed Child Care & Early Years Advisory Committee CCEYA – Minister’s Steering Committee (20 attendees)
    • Ontario Early Years Committee – Toronto/Danforth District (Massey Centre) (20 members)
  • TCBCC Board members ALL participated in Min. of Ed consultations on the Child Care & Early Year’s Act (CCEYA) and wrote five response papers on changes proposed by the Ministry of Education to change the Day Nurseries Act (DNA) to the CCEYA.
  • TCBCC Board Members regularly respond to issues raised by childcare supervisors, staff, parents and staff. This is sometimes a shorter term response to a particular issue but as a board we build on this engagement building long term capacity within our community.  These are a few examples of ways in which we have adjusted our activities to be responsive to our members and the broader child care community in recent years:
    • The Operators Network a community Network (2013-present) was founded by TCBCC Board and Community Members responding to a high level of distress and concern about City policies and the child care community’s relationship with the City. The Operators group was founded in the East End of the City but now links over 120 Childcare Supervisors across the City. This is an “Operators’” network – and not led by the TCBCC – although the TCBCC Executive Coordinator is frequently asked to participate in the meetings and share/hear information and help to strategize.  Many TCBCC Board Members were founding members of the Operators’ Network.
    • Board Members hosted TCBCC Forums within the Child Care community in the East End, Downtown and the North (2014-2016) responding to the many concerns being raised by the child care community concerning the City’s Assessment for Quality Improvement (AQI). We held a total of four forums (attended by 45-70 each time). We invited City staff to attend and hear directly from the community. The results were taken into consideration by Toronto Children’s Services and changes to the AQI were made to better support the Child Care Community.
    • As a follow-up to these forums and in response to community input we conducted a Child Care Community Survey on the AQI. With the help of our intern from Ryerson’s Early Childhood Leadership Degree program (who has since become a TCBCC Board Member!) we conducted a statistical analysis of the TCBCC membership’s perspective, which we shared with the City and the broader Child Care Community.
    • Board Members host TCBCC Community Child Care Budget Forums (annually) enabling the community to share resources, ideas and strategies with each other – to assist child care programs in building a Children’s Services Budget that supports their program.
  • A team of TCBCC Board and Community Members, in response to community demand, has developed a total of 30 Child Care Policies required by each child care program to meet licensing requirements for the Ministry as well as Children’s Services. We have made these resources available at a VERY low cost to child care programs (members and non-members) across the City to ease the workload for the child care community, to resource high quality, to build capacity and to raise funds for the important advocacy work of the TCBCC. We respond further to the community by producing and revising the policies that are requested.
  • Responded to a small group of North York Child Care programs and co-founded a small group coalition to respond to community needs. Several TCBCC Board Members worked closely with Community Members in the North End of the City. This is a small coalition of child care programs seeking support and engagement for the specific challenges they face. It is not led by the TCBCC – although the TCBCC Executive Coordinator is frequently asked to participate in the meetings and share/hear information and help to strategize.

Whenever requested, our Executive Coordinator and Board Members respond to and speak with other child care programs – sharing their expertise and resources. We have offered specific resources to Child Care Boards of Directors to support them through many challenges (i.e. City Budgets and Ministry of Education’s rollout of Full Day Kindergarten and Before & After School expansions).

Our AGM is coming up!  If you want to make a difference for our community and are interested in being on a committee or on the Board, please contact us!

Posted in Newsletter Updates, Your Voice.

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Funding for Extended Day Programs

The ministry is proposing changes to the Child Care and Early Years Act as currently, the regulation does not authorize the provision of general operating funding for board-operated extended day programs.

Timeline: These proposed changes are anticipated to come into effect July 1, 2018.

Posted in Child Care in the News.