Andrea Horwath’s NDP are misleading the public on child care barely a week after refusing to support the 2014 Liberal Budget, containing significant funding for child care modernization across the province.
“Ten days ago, Andrea Horwath’s NDP triggered a costly provincial election after refusing to support substantial improvements to the quality and safety of child care in Ontario,” said David Orazietti, Liberal Candidate. “If the provincial NDP genuinely cared about improving child care they would have supported the budget instead of plunging the province into an unnecessary election that could result in the Hudak-Harris Conservative’s firing 100,000 public workers and undermining gains in health care and education.”
The Liberal Budget, which was killed by Horwath and Hudak, included additional support for children and families by further increasing the Ontario Child Benefit by up to $100 annually. With this increase, the benefit would have more than doubled to up to $1,310 annually.
“I have made improving early childhood learning and child care a priority because we know this public service is important to meet local needs and help parents balance the demands of work and family,” said Orazietti. “The NDP and the PC’s are jeopardizing the gains we have made in child care, as well as the increased supports we are proposing for these services.”
The Liberal Budget would have helped preserve spaces, kept fees stable and further supported child safety through increased licensing activity and enhanced investigation and enforcement capacity. In forcing the election, the NDP killed the Child Care Modernization Act that contained numerous improvements to the system.
Specific initiatives in the Liberal Budget included:
A four year, $346 million plan, to further strengthen childcare services
Under the proposed Child Care Modernization Act fines were set to increase substantially from $2,000 to $250,000
Wage increases for child care workers
Indexing the Ontario Child Care Benefit to inflation
Increases to the Student Nutrition Program, that would have provided 56,000 more children a healthy and nutritious start to the day
In fact, leading advocates, such as Andrea Calver of the Ontario Coalition for Better Childcare expressed that: “There are a tremendous number of things in this budget that can do a lot of good for people, for child care staff, for personal support workers and for those with developmental disabilities. I remain hopeful that the budget will pass and that we’ll be able to make the gains for child care workers and personal support workers.”
Unlike the Liberal support for child care, the NDP cut funding to children’s treatment centres, increasing children’s wait times. The Hudak-Harris Conservative’s called for the abolishment of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, thus leaving children and youth throughout the province without a voice in government.
Provincial Liberal support for child care in Ontario includes:
Since 2003, funding for child protection has increased by approximately 40 percent, to $1.55 billion in 2013-14
Since 2003, autism investments have more than quadrupled to over $186 million
In 2013-14 the province is investing over $917 million to provide services and supports for children with mental health challenges, autism, core rehabilitation, respite and complex special needs
Since 2003, funding for the Student Nutrition Program increased by 700 per cent to $32 million annually in order to serve 750,000 students
Local support for child services includes $20,199,577 for the Children’s Aid Society of Algoma to provide child protection services and $6, 721,642 for a number of local providers, such as Children’s Rehabilitation Centre Algoma