CUPE responds to Council’s decision to cut Municipal Daycare


The following was posted by CUPE local 2544 as a response  to city council’s decision to drop Municipal Daycare services.

Sault Ste. Marie City councillors have dealt a devastating blow to the families of some 100 children who attend city-operated child care centres, as council voted 9 to 4 last night to get out of the day care business by the end of 2017. The move ends a 40-year tradition of municipal child care in the city.

The decision also affects dozens of registered early childhood educators (RECEs) and educational assistants who are employed by the City of Sault Ste. Marie.

“After little more than two hours’ debate, Sault Ste. Marie city councillors threw the lives of families, children and workers into turmoil,” said Connie Hurtubise of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the union that represents municipal child care workers.

Carolyn Ferns, Public Policy and Government Relations Coordinator with the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care, offered further comment to the proceedings: “We listened as councillor after councillor repeated fatuous and false arguments about the market taking care of any waiting lists for child care. They showed absolutely no awareness or understanding of the way the child care system works in our city or province – or the realities of the families who desperately need reliable, affordable care.”

Supporters of municipally delivered child care agreed with councillors on one issue: that the cause of the current crisis should be laid at the door of the provincial government, which two years ago introduced changes to the child care funding formula that led to a loss of funding for municipal day care.

“We don’t intend to stay quiet about this fiasco,” said Martha Friendly, Executive Director of the Childcare Resource and Research Unit. “This latest decision makes the need for proper funding and a comprehensive provincial policy for child care all the more urgent. At the root of this vote is the Ontario government’s downloading to local governments with no provincial policy to speak of.”

The City of Sault Ste. Marie already has hundreds of children on waiting lists for child care; the centre closures will have the effect of increasing those numbers as well as pushing dozens of trained child care professionals into unemployment.

“Many residents, be they workers or parents with children, may have to leave the area if child care is too hard to find. This is a short-sighted and alarming decisions that will cause harm to our community for years to come,” said CUPE’s Hurtubise.


  1. Our council needs to get out of the “lawyer business” and focus on changing this city! Shame on you city council! Shame on you to scrub 30 jobs to “we are talking about a total of $30,000/per year savings” quoted Romano! The city just threw another 30 jobs out the door at the expense of $1000.00 per employee! Your a sick group!

    Romano- you dared the city of this beautiful city to take you to task “i dare anyone to challenge that my kids day care is not as good or up to par than any city run day care centre! I have 3 kids 1,2, 3 years old and they come home loved with a great nourishing meal, and plenty of art work” he quoted!

    I challenged you Mr. Romano and you have yet to respond! While your centre may be great, and your kids come “stocked” with full of lovely art work! Thats not what ECE’s do! Shame on the council who did not take a tour to see the difference!

    While your kids are doing their art work, the staff at Jessie Irving took sign language & visual promp courses at children rehab, after hours unpaid and continued to do this free of charge! They were the only day care that was willing to do this, not complained but asked to join us with our family on their day off to better provide my child with the ability to be understood, to be able to express himself with his advanced diagnosis! The city run day care gave my severily hard of hearing child the ability to play with other kids and not be segrigated! Thats what ece’s do, they are a vital part of our education system Mr Romano, and if your happy your children have “plenty of art work”, well i am happy that the amazing city run day care gave my child the right to “free speach, the right to be treated fairly, the right to be understood!

    I also have an issue that Mr. Shoemaker had a conflict of interest in this case as his significant other works in the private day care sector! How does council allow this!

  2. OH, come on even I saw this happening. There are mostly men sitting on council, day care is a woman’s problem to them. Half are very close to retirement, get the grandparents to do it. That’s what they are all thinking. Please! Not one of them ever dealt with everyday struggles of the citizens of this city, never mind the new guy from out of town. The first thing I would have done was get rid of that position and save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars. We don’t need two mayors in this city!

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