Planning Statute Law Amendments and Ontario Child Care Workforce Strategy
Planning Statute Law Amendment Act
On November 16, the province introduced legislation to reverse its official plan amendments made in Barrie, Belleville, Hamilton, Ottawa, the City of Peterborough; the Regional Municipalities of Halton, Niagara, Peel, Waterloo and York; and Wellington County. Certain elements of the provincial changes will be maintained in instances where they are intended to protect the Greenbelt, strengthen Indigenous relations, and protect drinking water. It will also maintain changes made on land being considered for Highway 413. The legislation also introduces immunity provisions to mitigate legal risk for municipalities resulting from this legislation.
AMO President Colin Best sent a letter to Minister Calandra with advice to support legislation drafting. While AMO is pleased to see that recommended indemnity provisions are included in the proposed legislation, we continue to urge the province to include transitional provisions to ensure that these changes do not result in municipalities losing out on development charge revenue.
AMO welcomes the decision to reverse these ministry-issued decisions on official plans and is pleased that the province continues to consult with the municipalities on the most effective way to implement these changes. AMO will continue to review the proposed legislation and submit formal comments on the legislation to the Environmental Registry.
Ontario Child Care Workforce Strategy and Protection of Children
Yesterday, the government announced new measures for safer child care and a workforce strategy to aid with the attraction and retention of child care staff to help address labour shortages in the sector.
The new action taken is intended to further protect the safety of children by requiring all licensed child care operators to implement a Safe Arrival and Dismissal Policy by January 1, 2024. This will ensure that when a child does not arrive at the licensed child care program or is not picked up as expected, parents will be informed in line with existing protocols within Ontario’s publicly funded schools.
The Workforce Strategy, made possible with funding through the Canada-Ontario Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, includes wage enhancements and other ways to address issues facing the sector. The strategy will support workforce development starting in 2024 by:
- Increasing the starting wage for RECEs employed by child care operators enrolled in the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) system to $23.86/hour in 2024 from the planned $20/hour
- Extending the eligibility ceiling for a $1/hour increase so more RECEs can benefit
- Supporting entry into the profession and career development
- Cutting red tape for employers and providing more flexibility in staffing their programs
- Launching a promotional campaign to bolster awareness and value of the child care profession