11/25/2004

Toronto, Ont., November 25, 2004 – AMO President Roger Anderson is encouraged by the announcement by the Minister of Children and Youth Services, Dr. Marie Bountrogianni, that the Province will improve access to child care subsidies, infant programs
“Today’s announcement indicates that this Government understands that a healthy start in life impacts significantly on how children – and in this case, families - do in life,” Anderson said, “We await more details on the Best Start Plan.”

The Minister, supported by the Premier at today’s Ontario Children and Youth Summit, announced that the Province will eliminate restrictions on child care subsidies for parents with RRSPs and RESPs making more families eligible for subsidies as well as an additional investment of $14.2 million in Healthy Babies Healthy Children, preschool speech and language and infant hearing programs.

The Best Start Plan’s long term goal is to provide a seamless integrated system of early learning education and child care near or in schools for children from birth and onwards. Municipalities will be given the flexibility to create the program to fit local services and facilities. The Province will begin implementing the 10-year plan in September 2005 by providing half-day care for junior and senior kindergarten. The announcement did not include details on the number of spaces that will be created next year nor the initial cost implications of the program and impacts on municipal government.

Anderson added, “Municipalities have done quite a bit to integrate services in other social service areas and we hope we can bring those lessons to this initiative as good advice.”

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 445 municipal governments.  AMO supports and enhances strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada’s political system.
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