Press release - New Provincial cuts to child care mean at least $15 million in budget shortfalls annually, endanger more than 700 affordable child care spaces in Toronto

TORONTO – New cuts to child care by the Ford government represent a $15 million budget shortfall for Toronto in 2020 alone, and endanger more than 700 affordable child care spaces, a new city staff report released on Tuesday morning explains. 

“Child care should be affordable and accessible for everyone,” said Councillor Joe Cressy (Ward 10, Spadina-Fort York), speaking at a press conference alongside Councillor Mike Layton (Ward 11, University-Rosedale), Toronto District School Board Trustee Jennifer Story (TDSB Ward 15, Toronto-Danforth), the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care, the Toronto Coalition for Better Child Care, and community members. “City staff now know that these new cuts by the Ford government put thousands of new spaces and hundreds of low-income subsidies at risk. These cuts must be reversed.” 

Effective in 2020 the cost-share formula for new child care subsidies - previously committed to be funded 100% by the provincial government - will now be required to be funded 80% by the province, 20% by the City. This represents $15 million fewer dollars from the province in 2020, and 760 child care subsidies. Additionally, 49 new child care centres set to be built in TDSB sites, are now required to receive operational funding from the City, rather than the Province, while the first 17 of these new TDSB child care sites will receive full operational funding from the Province. These funds represent a future $34 million funding pressure for the City. And, even further undefined funding cuts are set to take place as of January 1, 2021.

"The Ford Conservatives' child care cuts will hurt programs that children and families need," said Carolyn Ferns, Public Policy and Government Relations Coordinator for the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care. "These cuts are both reckless and unnecessary. We need child care funding to be restored immediately so kids can have supports that they need to thrive."

In April, the Ford government announced its first round of cuts to child care. Although specifics were unclear, these cuts put at risk thousands of subsidized child care spots and thousands of new spaces in new TDSB child care facilities, a critical component of the City's child care expansion plan. After fierce opposition by residents and City Councillors, the Ford government announced they were putting the cuts on hold. However in August, they again announced - without specific details - that cuts to child care were proceeding. After months of work, City staff have now been able to bring forward a report detailing both the immediate and long-term impacts. 

“Trying to balance a budget by downloading costs onto municipalities doesn’t work,” said Councillor Layton. “Child care in Toronto is already the most unaffordable in the country. Cutting desperately needed dollars will only make things harder for children and families.”  

Efforts are already underway to mobilize to defend child care in Toronto. This morning, Progress Toronto launched a petition (https://www.progresstoronto.ca/stop-child-care-cuts) calling on the Ford government to reverse the cuts. Similar efforts on public health, education and previous child care cuts resulted in tens of thousands of emails and phone calls sent directly to Premier Ford and Government MPPs.

The report will be considered by the Economic and Community Development Committee on October 16th, and by City Council on October 29th and 30th.

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Media contacts:

Lia Brewer, Office of Councillor Cressy: 416-392-4044, lia.brewer@toronto.ca

Stephanie Nakitsas, Office Councillor Mike Layton: 647 876 0649, stephanie.nakitsas@toronto.ca

Carolyn Ferns, Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care: 416-538-0628 x4, carolyn@childcareontario.org