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Disappearance of licensed child programs, Toronto report warns. (Child & Family).

TORONTO -- "All families may be faced with the disappearance of licensed programs or unsustainable fees," if the Ontario government does not increase funding for child care, a city of Toronto report warns.

The report, Preserving Child Care in Toronto: The Case for New Ontario Government Funding, calls on the provincial government to take advantage of federal monies available from the federal-provincial agreement on the Early Childhood Development Initiative. It also outlines the effect of provincial cutbacks on child care in Toronto. The federal government through the ECDI promised to transfer $2.2 billion over five years to provinces in order to fund programs for children, including child care.

Unlike other provinces, Ontario has refused to use any of its share of the funds, about $880 million, "to stabilize, improve or expand licensed child care anywhere in Ontario".

"Instead of shoring up deteriorating child care system, the government has chosen to create Early Years Centres in each of the province's (electoral) ridings", which the report describes as a parallel system to existing child care programs.

Since 1999 the Ontario government cut its annual base funding for Toronto's child care program by $11.8 million for a total of $35 million over the last three years. As well, the report says that there is still about $113 million of federal monies left for Ontario, $23 million of which would be available to the city since Toronto accounts for 20 per cent of Ontario's child population.

The report urges the province to allocate immediately $18.6 million of ECDI funding to stabilize Toronto's child care system while preventing any further service loss. These funds would help to recover lost services, such as 1,616 child care spaces lost in 2002, and to help create additional spaces.
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Title Annotation:Preserving Child Care in Toronto: The Case for New Ontario Government Funding
Publication:Community Action
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CONT
Date:Feb 17, 2003
Words:293
Previous Article:World's children". (Child & Family).
Next Article:Trillium Foundation Ontario 800-263-2887. (Funding).
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