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Planned cuts to Ontario child care programs will leave low-income, special needs families without care

Job losses and increased demand for welfare will outweigh savings from cuts.

Special needs spaces already unfilled due to lack of fundingA planned $63.5 million cut to Ontario's child care programs has many across the province worried about job losses, special needs children without care and a growing social deficit. The cut would eliminate 6,500 jobs and leave 7,600 kids from low income families without the care they need, says the Centre for Spatial Economics (CSE) in a study commissioned by the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care (OCBCC).

The organization calculates that this will be the result of cuts the McGuinty government has proposed in subsidies to offset child care fees paid by single and low-income parents.

"The report shows there's a lot more at stake than lost child care spaces," says OCBCC coordinator Andrea Calver.

"A $63.5 million cut to subsidized child care would result in a $148.3 million drop in Ontario's GDP through job losses and increased demand for welfare. The losses far outweigh Ontario's contribution for child care subsidies that are a lifeline for vulnerable children and their families."

The study shows $63.5 million in child care cuts would result in:

• The disappearance of 7,600 subsidized child care spaces for children from low-income families.

• The elimination of 1,800 child care jobs and an additional 1,100 jobs in the related economy.

• A further 3,480 jobs vacated by forcing parents to leave work due to a lack of alternate child care options.

• Growing welfare rolls as out-of-work parents turn to social assistance.

"The future is now," says Rosemary White, executive director of the Bond Child and Family Development Centre in Toronto. Her program provides care and intervention services for children with autism and other special needs and children from low income and refugee families.

"We have a long waiting list of families who need support yet 39 per cent of our spaces are vacant because of the subsidy freeze. Another cut and our program will close by September," she forecasts.

The OCBCC is urging the Ontario government to budget for child care savings that will be realized when full-day learning begins in Ontario. The province has calculated that it will save $119 million savings in public child care costs when children aged four and five move into full day, school operated programs.

The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care (OCBCC), founded in 1981, advocates for universally accessible, high quality, not-for-profit, regulated child care in the province of Ontario. They are a non-partisan public awareness and advocacy group with broad membership including the education, labour, student and women's and francophone communities.

Links and sources
  Child Care Ontario site

Posted: February 12, 2010

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