Childcare Subsidy

If you have not heard this already, prepare to be shocked and amazed at the ineptitude of the City of Kingston, and the Canadian government, to assist students and parents hoping to go to school or return to work.  For those that have been dealing with childcare subsidy this may not come as a real surprise.

The issue in a nutshell

 Many families in need of childcare subsidy + Funds being reduced and cut as of October 2011 = Over 100 families on a wait list in need of childcare, and daycares closing because parents cannot afford to send their kids without help from subsidy.  The only way for a family to recieve subsidy is when another family comes off of it. 

The trickle down effect of cutting off childcare subsidy will be detrimental to the future of Kingston and the surrounding area.  Without child care subsidy, I believe the following issues arising:

- there will be less enrollement in colleges in universities, which could result in an increase in tuition;

- people will not be able to go to work and therefore will have to rely on welfare for their source of income;

- crime rates will increase as people become desparate to support their families, increased cost for prisons and police force;

- small businesses will begin to suffer, and close, and the unemployment rate will soar;

 - healthcare will have a burden put on it when people cannot afford medications and trips to the doctor;

- parents will be forced to find alternative childcare solutions that will be unlicensed and potentially dangerous for their children: up to and including neglect, physical, mental, or sexual abuse.

The solution in a nutshell

1.  Make your voice heard if you do not agree that childcare subsidy should be cut.  Send a letter to Ted Hsu at 14-303 Bagot Street, Kingston, Ontario K7K 5W7, or House of Commons, 818 Justice Building, Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0A6.  He can also be reached by twitter @TedHsu

2. If you, or someone you know, is planning on attending school in September get your name on the wait list for childcare subsidy.  According to some sources, you should have had your name down a couple of weeks before Christmas for the possibility of getting subsidy in September.  As a side note, DO NOT miss your renewal appointment or you will lose subsidy and be put at the bottom of the wait list. 

 These are desparate times for some, and they will not get better unless we as students, parents, and citizens stand up for our rights and future.  One of my favourite sayings comes to mind now, ”If you don’t stand up for something, you will fall for anything.”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Windows Live
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Buzz
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Digg
  • Delicious

Comments

  1. Lindsay says:

    I have used this program in the past and it did help. Making cut back is not the way to go. However there is another side of this coin as well daycare closers. My daycare closed years ago and I put my son on wait lists for a spot in daycare. That was 2008 now 2012…my son has not been in daycare since. I was lucky to have friends that could watch him while I tried to work and now back in school.
    So yeah if you need subsidy get your name on it now also make sure you can find a spot in Kingston for child care cause they are also slim to none these days

    • Julia says:

      Lindsay, you are one of few lucky ones that have friends and family available in the area. There are so many that are coming from out of town that are going to be out of luck come this September.

      The other problem is people are not aware of how the system works. I just heard that one student thought that OSAP covered daycare, and had to drop out of the program because she couldn’t afford daycare.

      Good luck with school!

  2. Hi Julia,

    My name is Sophie and I am Ted Hsu’s Chief of Staff in the Kingston office.

    Childcare does not fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government but provincial and consequently all inquiries on child care should go to John Gerretsen’s office. Mr. Gerretsen can be reached at the following email address: jgerretsen.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org. I am sure that Mr. Gerretsen and his staff will be pleased to answer any questions that you or your fellow students have with regard to child care funding.

    Having said that, I am pleased to let you know that I contacted Mr. Gerretsen’s office before responding to your post and discovered that they were not aware of any subsidy cuts. I also did a search on the province’s web site (www.ontario.ca) and could not find a mention of this announcement there either. If however you have other evidence that indicates a cut in child care subsidies is forthcoming, I am sure that Mr. Gerretsen or his staff would be happy to make an inquiry on your behalf. Students (and in particular single mothers) certainly have enough to worry about without childcare cuts on top of their academic responsibilities.

    So best of luck Julia with your studies and I not only hope you enjoy your stay in Kingston but that you might consider staying beyond your graduation. If you have any inquiries related to the federal government we would be pleased to assist you at ted.hsu@parl.gc.ca. The phone number in the Kingston office is 613-542-3243. We are excited that Mr. Hsu will be launching his new web site within the next day or two so please take the time to check it out at http://www.tedhsu.ca.

    Take care Julia,

    Sophie

  3. Ted Hsu, MP says:

    Hello Julia,
    Thanks very much for being a citizen who is engaged with our government! I certainly don’t want to pass the buck, and I want say this: In 2005 the federal Liberal government was negotiating with the provinces for funding of child-care spaces before it was defeated. The other progressive opposition parties knew that this would be one of the risks of forcing the 2006 election which saw Stephen Harper gain the levers of power. The Liberal party has consistently advocated increased federal funding for child-care in the intervening years, and taken the position that the Conservative government’s “Universal Health Care Benefit” is not enough. I believe I am not passing the buck because I am working to defeat Stephen Harper’s Conservatives in 2015. That’s got to be the first step towards a lot of improvements like increased support for child-care at the federal level. I invite you to join me!

    Ted

    • Julia says:

      Hello Mr. Hsu,

      Thank you for responding. I used the terms “cuts to childcare subsidy”, and the symantics have slightly altered the main issue. It is difficult to distinguish the difference between cuts and reduction in spenditure as they are so closely related. Please refer to Elizabeth Johnston’s editorial in the Kingston Whig, http://www.thewhig.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3449449.

      The following exerpt was taken from CBC News, regarding the 2005 Liberal government negotiations with the provinces for funding of child-care spaces (http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canadavotes2011/realitycheck/2011/04/who-killed-child-care-in-canada.html):

      However, that’s not quite how things unfolded in 2005. Rewind to November of that year when the NDP and Conservatives both voted in favour of a motion of non-confidence in Paul Martin’s Liberal minority government.

      An election was triggered and it brought Stephen Harper to power in early 2006.
      His minority Conservative government scrapped the funding agreements that the Liberals had been negotiating with the provinces for child-care spaces and introduced the Universal Child Care Benefit instead. The thing to remember here is that Harper didn’t need the NDP to kill those agreements, he just did it.

      His first budget was the one that introduced the Universal Child Care Benefit and that budget easily passed with no opposition from the then-chastened Liberals or the NDP. They had both vowed to vote against it but when the budget came up for a final vote the opposition parties were missing-in-action and it passed unanimously with no recorded vote.

      According to the NDP’s logic, if the Liberals hadn’t been so bad at governing they never would have lost the confidence of the House of Commons, they never would have lost the subsequent election and they would have their mulit-billion dollar national child-care program up and functioning.

      As your cheif-of-staff, Sophie, pointed out earlier childcare subsidy falls within provincial jurisdiction under John Gerretson (whom has yet to reply), and you lead to the fact that it falls somewhere in federal jurisdiction.

      As a Canadian citizen, I want and need to know who to approach with a petition and/or letters of persuasion to address the serious issue of lack of funding for childcare subsidy. In the meantime, I encourage you and your staff to look at Canada Without Poverty, http://www.cwp-csp.ca/, to see the impact of virtually forcing citizens into poverty.

      Julia

  4. Wendy says:

    Hi Julia,

    Important issue.

    The situation in Kingston, as I understand it, is that the level of funding for fee subsidy has not been cut . . . but it has not increased either. But, child care centres have HAD TO increase their rates to provide salary increases, to repair and replace worn equipment and because generally the cost of everything (food, utilities, rent, etc.) has increased. Therefore, the same fee subsidy dollars are serving fewer children each year. There is now a Wait List for subsidy, but the municipallity can’t do anything about it. They only have so much money to work with.
    Its a vicious circle.

    Child care centres have HAD TO increase their rates because Registered Early Childhood Educators deserve higher wages. Unfortunately fees alone do not pay adequate wages for child care staff. The government knows this and has provided wage subsidies to boost wages for Registered Early Childhood Educators.

    However, the funding for wage subsidy has not increased either, and with new or expanded centres, the wage subsidy dollars are also being spread thinner and thinner, and RECEs are also receiving less and less each year.

    The full day early learning (full-day, everyday Kindergarten) is contributing to these issues in a couple of ways:

    First, school boards are hiring Early Childhood Educators in Kindergarten classrooms, which on one hand its wonderful that RECEs are partners in the classrooms, however it is difficult for the licensed child care centres to compete with the salaries offered by the school boards . . . and the only way to raise salaries is by raising child care fees (that’s where $ for salaries come from!), which goes right back to why the fee subsidy dollars are serving fewer children!

    Secondly, by September 2014, all Ontario schools will be offering Full-day Learning programs for Kindergarten children. The loss of kindergarten children is already impacting child care centres. Centres are responding by converting spaces to serve younger children. Younger children require higher staff:child ratios, so centres require more RECEs which means more RECEs sharing the same wage subsidy dollars, which means each RECE receives less wage subsidy . . . . and fees must be raised to make up the salary difference . . . . and on and on the cycle goes!

    Its a really uncertain time for the childcare field, but one thing is certain . . . child care is under-funded.

  5. Kizzy says:

    Julia,

    Times are becoming harder-and-harder for the average, ambitious, Canadian family to establish and sustain a decent living and this reality is felt hardest by vulnerable groups such as single parents (with young children who rely on daycare to seek and sustain employment and/or attend school) and their children.

    Whenever I read articles and reports on childcare issues, relating to the high cost of non-subsidized childcare spaces and the lack of adequate and subsidized childcare spaces, I think of the average, ambitious, Canadian family and child who needs support by their government but struggle due to the lack of such support. Limited and limiting, affordable childcare spaces does a disservice to Canadian families, children, and Canada as a whole, socially and economically speaking as you already highlighted (re: the impact on crime rates, welfare, healthcare etc.).

    I encourage Canadians to ask themselves why the Canadian government fails to adequately invest in the average Canadian family (which includes single parents), Canadian child, and support them by ensuring there are enough affordable, adequate, and available subsidized childcare spaces for those who need it.

    “Children are one third of our population and all of our future” (Select Panel for the Promotion of Child Health, 1981). If we do not invest in our Canadian children today, what becomes of our Canada tomorrow?

    ECEC was a key theme at our Dignity for All Policy Summit in March 2011 (http://www.dignityforall.ca/sites/default/files/docs/2011-DFA-Policy-Summit-Housing-and-ECEC-Recommendations.pdf) and we encourage you and your readers to support Bill C233, visit our Dignity for All website (www.digityforall.ca), and ask that you endorse our campaign.

    We hope that you will stay in touch with Canada Without Poverty and we look forward to reading more of your blogs.

    Kizzy Paris
    Canada Without Poverty

Speak Your Mind

*

About Julia

Hello, I'm Julia. I am a single mother of a very energentic 3-year-old daughter. I have two diplomas from the Office Administration Medical/Legal program, and I am working on my thrid from the Law Clerk program. I know a little bit about computers from working with the I.T. department at St. Lawrence College for the past 2 years. I believe in standing up for my rights, and the rights of those that cannot stand up for themselves. Three of my favourite sayings are: "If you don't stand up for something, you will fall for anything", "Be the change you wish to see in this world", and "If you can't handle me at my worst, you don't deserve me at my best." Infer what you want, but that's who I am.