A group of Toronto parents and educators are calling on City Council and Mayor John Tory to have a heart and protect child care in schools by halting cuts to Childcare Occupancy Grants in the City Budget.
All City Councillors are invited to join Toronto families and educators to sign a Valentine Pledge to Toronto Families this Wednesday February 1st at 9:15 am in front of Committee Room 1, City Hall.
"These cuts put further pressure on families who are already struggling to pay the highest child care fees in the country." said Jessica Diamond, a Toronto mother and Chair of Gledhill Avenue Child Care Centre. "We need our City Council's support."
The cut to occupancy grants would force families to pay over $350 more in child care fees each year. The added financial pressure on child care centres could also destabilize programs that provide vital services to Toronto families.
While Toronto has announced 300 new subsidies in this year's budget, the plan to fund these subsidies by cutting child care grants has been decried by parents as simply "robbing Peter to pay Paul."
"We need every City Councillor to work to stop this cut. We cannot ask families to pay more." said Carolyn Ferns of the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care, one of the event's organizers. "Mayor Tory says that the province should pick up these costs, but it's irresponsible for the City to just walk away. We're urging all levels of government to work together to support our families, not use child care as a political football."
Councillor Janet Davis (Ward 31, Beaches East York) is encouraging her Council colleagues to sign on to the pledge. "Toronto families are struggling to pay the highest child care costs in the country. As City Councillors, we need to show these families some love and fund affordable, quality child care," said Davis. "The 300 additional subsidies are a good start, but over 17,000 families continue to wait for affordable child care."
"Funding these additional subsidies from the pockets of full fee paying parents is not a solution," said Davis, a long-time child care advocate. "Until the provincial government steps up, the City needs to maintain the occupancy grant for school based child care centres, or those families will see a fee increase of at least $350 this year, more than 3.5 times the average property tax increase of $96."
-reprinted from Marketwired