When the Ontario Budget was released on April 11th, it left many in the child care community with more questions than answers when it came to child care funding. Since then we have been waiting to see the full details of changes to Ontario child care funding. We now have some more information on child care funding changes, and, as we feared, the devil is in the details. Now that the Ministry of Education has publicly released breakdowns by municipality we can see that transfers to most municipalities are being cut, and total child care spending is cut immediately by over $80 million.
We have prepared two tables below that show provincial child care spending in 2018 and 2019. Table 1 shows General Allocations; these are funds that are used for child care fee subsidies for low-income families, and operating costs. This funding is being reduced in 44 of 47 municipalities, and total general allocations across the province are being cut by over $40 million. In Table 2 we take into account other funding streams - eliminating fee stabilization funding, cuts to administration etc. When these changes are included we can see that total child care spending in Ontario is being cut immediately by over $80 million, and all but one municipality will receive a funding cut. When we take into account the total phase-out of fee stabilization, the cuts will total over $90 million.
We are still waiting for additional details on the breakdown of the general operating fund. Municipalities and child care operators are still just beginning to come to grips with what these funding changes will mean to programs. The provincial government is changing cost sharing requirement for municipalities which will create further budget pressures for municipal governments.