Private commodity or public good?

Early childhood education and care

Letter to the Editor
Horwath, Andrea
Publication date detail
Toronto Star
See text below.
Letter to the editor:

The NDP is committed to expanding publicly funded not-for-profit child care that families can afford. So-called "big box" child care has no place in Ontario. The McGuinty government can make sure of that.

In 2008 I introduced Bill 26 to prevent corporate day care conglomerates from eroding the establishment of a universal system of quality early learning and care in Ontario, one that is regulated, accessible, affordable and non-profit.

Passing Bill 26 would disallow new big box and for-profit child care operations from qualifying for government funding. It would amend the Day Nurseries Act so that the only new child care centres eligible for public dollars are in the not-for-profit sector. Existing for-profit centres would not be affected by the change, but new private centres and big boxers would not be eligible for public money.

Sadly, the McGuinty Liberals voted against Bill 26, ignoring the fact that the big box model brings escalating fees and sliding quality. These private models are subject to insolvency, where families are suddenly stranded with no child care after a big box entity goes bankrupt and abruptly closes.

The McGuinty Liberals need to make a commitment to public child care and keep the commercial multinationals out. With the advent of full-day kindergarten they need to shore up existing community-based centres and protect existing spaces, subsidies and programs for children of all ages, not open the door to a big box experiment that has already been shown to have failed elsewhere.

The government's failure to adopt legislation actually opened the door to these commercial, big box operators and Ontario families should be very concerned.

- Andrea Horwarth, Leader, Ontario NDP

- reprinted from the Toronto Star


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