1. The Childcare Resource and Research Unit supports the intent and purpose of Bill 10 and urges the Legislature to pass it. We agree that new legislation is a necessary component of a high quality child care system and generally support most of the specific clauses and details.
We are concerned that so much of the discussion about Bill 10 has become focused on issues associated with unregulated home child care while many other important aspects of child care in Ontario go unaddressed.
We also suggest that the considerable misinformation and confusion about the nature of regulation in home child care and how it contributes to children's safety and quality warrant a provincial public education campaign.
2. We have several specific suggestions for amendments and additions to the legislation. These are by no means as exhaustive as they could be if there were a more robust policy process, more thorough consultation and a longer timeframe.
3. We argue that this legislation alone is not sufficient for the development and sustainability of the high quality early childhood education and child care system that Ontario needs. We suggest that the context has changed considerably since the Ontario government began to develop this legislation in 2011 and that the current political climate is a more favourable one for a more expansive approach to child care.
Thus we urge the provincial government to begin a full policy process to develop a robust, comprehensive ("modernized") policy framework that lays out the provincial government's vision, rationales, principles, short and long-term plans, funding and evaluation mechanisms.
We suggest that the format of a traditional White Paper process would be appropriate.
We believe that this policy process needs to address such key issues as: how the high quality child care workforce (including home child care) needed to ensure high quality services will be ensured; how child care and kindergarten will become better integrated; how child care services will become affordable; how the supply of services will be grown to cover more than the 20% of children now covered; how the child care market will be transformed to a system, to name some of the most important policy issues that need to be addressed.
We would look forward to working with the provincial government on such a task.