With a September 1 deadline approaching, most Toronto child care centers have not yet signed up to provide $ 10-a-day care.
Ontario’s $ 13.2 billion agreement with the federal government is structured so that it places the onus on municipalities to enroll licensed centers and agencies in the new system and distribute money, which will then be used to pay the fees charged by parents. be reduced by 25 percent from 1 April this year and by 50 percent from 1 January next year.
Toronto’s registration portal opened on June 6. The city tells CTV News Toronto that of its 1,042 licensed centers, 272 subscribed to the program while nine withdrew.
Eloise Morrison, supervisor at Scarborough’s Teach Me To Fly Preschool, agreed, but says the plan created an “accounting nightmare” with lingering questions.
“I still don’t have answers to give parents about when or why or how. It’s frustrating for us,” Morrison said.
Maggie Moser, CEO of Blossoming Minds Learning Center at Danforth, explains that the current funding model will not be sufficient to help operators recover money lost for parental cut fees.
“The conditions we have now will definitely lead to bankruptcy,” warns Moser.
Moser, a director of the Ontario Association of Independent Childcare Centers, says none of their approximately 1,000 members have signed up to the program due to unaddressed concerns, including overfunding in 2023 and beyond.
Operators only receive a concrete funding award after signing up and submitting a contract.
“We’re really being asked to sign a mortgage without knowing what the interest rate is,” Moser said.
The city says subscription is only a starting point.
“Centers do have the ability to withdraw from the process if they later decide along the way that they are not interested,” said Shanley McNamee, general manager of Child Services for Toronto.
McNamee explains that checks and balances are required to sign up to ensure provincial funding is used for the intended purpose.
Moser is concerned about the details of an operator changing plans and confusing parents.
“It’s very disruptive for the business, for the parent’s childcare system. With everyone looking for places, it’s already making everyone highly stressed.”
McNamee says the province has committed to discussions this summer around a new funding model for 2023.
Moser feels the only one that creates stability for existing operators is to have longer-term contracts.
“Where we know what funding we are getting and that we are getting virtually what we are giving up, so it is not us who are financing the system.”