02/11/2016

Investments in child care and early learning make good economic sense for Ontario.

Backgrounder

Investments in child care and early learning make good economic sense for Ontario.  These systems support local economies and help families and communities thrive by making full-time work possible for parents.  Especially in northern and rural communities, child care systems help attract and retain the skilled workforce needed to grow local economies.

AMO supports the government’s Child Care Modernization initiative and will continue to work with the Province on the effort.  This includes finding ways to increase access to licensed, high-quality, affordable child care.  As Service System Managers, municipalities and District Social Service Administration Boards (DSSABs) are well-positioned to help the government chart the path forward.  They can play an important role in ensuring that strong foundational policies and programs are put in place.

It is therefore critical for municipalities and DSSABs to have continued involvement in policy deliberations on issues of governance, program design, and funding.  Child care works best with:
  • local flexibility to enable innovation;
  • simplified reporting requirements; and,
  • minimal administrative burden on municipal service system managers.
While working with the Province to modernize childcare, AMO’s priority is to ensure that any new changes are adequately planned and funded.  It is essential that no additional costs are transferred to municipal governments and that any changes to current cost-share arrangements do not lead to increased costs for municipalities.

While incremental funding increases to the child care system as a whole have helped, the current system is still underfunded, especially in the absence of federal engagement over the past decade.  It is promising that the federal government has committed to working with provinces and territories to develop and implement a new National Early Learning and Child Care Framework.  AMO looks forward to working with the Provincial government to promote Ontario’s priorities and anticipates new investments in child care.  Ontario’s residents need expanded access to more affordable, high-quality child care.

The Child Care and Early Years Act has come into effect.  This new legislation replaced the outdated Day Nurseries Act.  The child care system in Ontario had not changed fundamentally since 1980, and this act addresses transforming child care to enhance programs and supports for children aged 0-12 years, using a multi-year plan.  AMO is committed to working with the Province to provide our best advice in the municipal interest to help shape the accompanying regulations to the legislation.