The Childcare Resource and Research Unit has written a response in regards to the consultation that the Ontario Ministry of Education is having on their child care and early years strategy. Please find our full response attached below.
The provincial government needs to hear from you as well, both in person and in writing. Please write a short, written response to the consultation and email it to:CCGE_modernization@ontario.ca or you can send by mail to: Early Years Division, Ministry of Education, 900 Bay Street, 24th Floor, Mowat Block, Toronto, ON M7A 1L2
CRRU response summary
The Childcare Resource and Research Unit applauds the Ontario government’s intent to expand regulated child care in Ontario and the substantial financial commitment it has made. CRRU recognizes that the success of this initiative requires, at a minimum, resolution of a number of systemic roadblocks that will impede expansion of accessible, high quality, responsive, affordable child care. These are:
- Difficulty recruiting and retaining sufficient numbers of skilled professional early childhood educators and the links between this and ECE’s poor wages and working conditions;
- Need for new spaces to be affordable;
- Unaffordability of existing spaces;
- Limited supply of quality physical facilities to house new centre spaces;
- Governance issues including a) limited capacity of non-profit service providers to assume additional responsibility without sustainability; b) diminished supply of and support for publicly-delivered child care; and c) good evidence that expansion in the poorer quality, less efficient for-profit sector will not make a positive contribution to the high quality, accessible, affordable and responsive child care described in the provincial government’s four pillars.
Additional issues to be addressed as part achieving accessibility, responsiveness to families, affordability and quality of child care and other early years programs include:
- Full inclusion of children with disabilities;
- Enhancement of off- and on-reserve child care and other early years programs for and by Indigenous communities;
- Need for timely assessment and adjustment of full-day kindergarten programs to ensure that they are making the best possible contribution to a modernized, responsive, accessible, high quality child care and early years system.
Overall, Ontario needs to move child care out of the failed market model into a more publicly planned, managed and funded system. CRRU argues that in addition to addressing immediate roadblocks to smooth the expansion initiative, a fuller more robust policy framework is needed over the medium to long-term. Thus, we urge the provincial government to undertake two linked tasks:
- develop a plan for expanding the supply of affordable, responsive, high quality child care, as committed, and
- embark on a full policy process to develop a robust, comprehensive (“modernized”) policy framework that lays out short and long-term plans. This should include a clear vision for an integrated system of child care and other early years programs, principles and rationales including details to ensure effective operationalization, plans for long-term sustained funding and effective evaluation mechanisms.