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Boosting child care makes fiscal sense: Chow

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Monsebraaten, Laurie
Publication Date: 
21 Aug 2002

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Even though it's cheaper to give single parents a child-care subsidy than a welfare cheque, Queen's Park refuses to pump new money into licensed day care, Toronto's child advocate charged yesterday.

"I have crunched the numbers and it's not only 50 per cent cheaper for taxpayers to give these families child care, the families end up with more money to spend on their children because now they have jobs," said Councillor Olivia Chow (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina).

"This is a double benefit," she told a workshop on children's issues at the annual conference of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.

In Toronto, 4,388 single parents receive $25.4 million in child-care subsidies annually with city taxpayers picking up $5.1 million (20 per cent) of the cost, she told the workshop. Without child care, most of those parents would be on welfare, at a cost of $50.4 million a year, Chow said.

Ontario has spent no new provincial money on licensed child care in Toronto since 1997.

Chow and other municipal leaders are upset that Queen's Park spent none of the $114 million in new federal early childhood development money on child care last year.

Ontario will get $153 million from Ottawa this year under the $2.2 billion five-year program and so far, has not allocated any of the new funds to licensed child care.

"We have determined to spend our funding on early childhood development in the areas where we felt children were most vulnerable," said Children Services Minister Brenda Elliott.

reprinted from the Toronto Star.