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Letter: Don't take away our daycare

Monday, May 05, 2014   by: Staff received the following letter from reader and local mom Rachel Punch, who is concerned about the possibility council will decide to get out of the daycare business after provincial funding cuts announced earlier this year.

The city should be celebrating the work done by the staff at Maycourt and Jessie Irving children’s centres, not contemplating closing or selling the centres off to the private sector.

The programming and standard of care at these two facilities is higher than that of any other facility I am aware of.

Our city may be one of the few that still maintains its municipally run daycares, but these centres are one of the services that make our city a great place to raise a family.

An investment in the development and education of our youth is an investment in our city’s future.

Our two-year-old daughter attends Maycourt Children’s Centre and our two-month-old daughter is on the waiting list for the facility.

If these centres were to close, our daughters would find themselves back on the waiting list of 1,044 children needing child care.

This list will grow as all the children from both centres will be placed on the list.

My husband and I need daycare for our children in order to work.

If you close these centres, parents like us will be left scrambling.

There are many quality home daycare providers, but that is not always the case.

In Toronto, four children have died in unlicensed daycares in the last 10 months.

Unlicensed daycare providers can legally have up to five babies (under two) in addition to their own children under current regulations.

There is very little oversight and monitoring of unlicensed daycares, sometimes resulting tragic consequences.

Please don’t take away the peace of mind I have dropping my child off at Maycourt every weekday morning, where I know she will be safe, well fed and provided the opportunities to play, learn and develop into a good citizen in our community.

Rachel Punch

Previous coverage of this story:

City faces child care challenges

(PHOTO: Sophie Halford is pictured at Maycourt Children's Centre with her snowman artwork. Photo supplied)

Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
Prrrrrrr 5/5/2014 11:51:37 AM Report

Unlicensed daycare providers can legally have up to five babies (under two) in addition to their own children under current regulations.

That's wrong on so many levels!!!!
Alona B 5/5/2014 11:55:11 AM Report

Great points, and very well written. Our child is at Maycourt as well, and it is a fantastic place with a great staff. I urge Council to continue its investment in these children and the community.
Mr. Poster 5/5/2014 12:18:09 PM Report

Taxpayers should not have to pay more to mind other peoples kids.
Opstday 5/5/2014 12:35:54 PM Report

Take a hike Mr. Poster. Taxpayers are not paying to "mind" others kids. They are investing in our future, our children, to make our city welcoming to all the young families that want to return or come to Sault Ste. Marie. We need this infrastructure in place to show outsiders that the Sault is a wonderful place to raise a family. Everybody benefits from this. I hope council realizes that the cost to support these facilities is minimal compared to the benefit it provides for our community

Well written article!
ThinkAgain 5/5/2014 12:49:59 PM Report

My tax dollar should not be paying for some other people kids. I already over pay in school tax.
Why put the burden on me.

Privatize all the way
maplesyrup 5/5/2014 12:58:45 PM Report

The more liscensed daycares we have the better for our children's future. It can be frightning, when unlisenced homes take in more children than is allowed, many break the rules. There are often untrained caregivers, without proper first aid certification and the many other quailifications necessary to take care of our most precious gifts. There are so many families who are not even on the list, so a true picture of what our city really needs is not reflected. More letters need to circulate regarding childcare spaces.
BigDaddy 5/5/2014 1:03:27 PM Report

Take it away and reduce my taxes I fully paid for my own daycare costs, so should everyone else. Otherwise, fine, I'll throw my tax dollars your way if I can use yours to help with my kids tuition problem.
BigDaddy 5/5/2014 1:06:28 PM Report

Hey OPSTay, mind YOUR business...don't tell me what Sault Ste Marie needs or how it should be spending my tax dollars, such arrogance!
pruden 5/5/2014 1:17:29 PM Report

Quite disappointing reading all the negative responses to this article. The attitude of "I didn't have it so why should you" is repugnant.

Sorry to say, but if Council couldn't see their way to helping The Boy Scouts with a little funding because they couldn't see the benefit to the community, then anything to do with our young ones is of no interest to them. How they could even think that helping out the Boys Scouts wasn't going to benefit us I'll never understand that way of thinking.

If things are working let's change it...that seems to be the motto of many governments/municipalities all over the country. We are such a sick society.

God save Canada
rjp218 5/5/2014 1:25:55 PM Report

These childcare spaces are not free. I pay almost $40 a day to send my child to Maycourt.

BigDaddy, part of our tax dollars do also go toward your child's university education in the form of funding from the province to post-secondary institutions. In fact, more than half of the funding for post-secondary education comes from the government.
eadiecougs 5/5/2014 1:33:41 PM Report

back in the day nobody had daycare but today we have kids and we feel the government has to take care of them.why is our debt so high to many social services to big of a mom raised 5 kids no daycare my dad was making 8 dollars an hour. the problem is both parents work now and want too much .cars three tv's and so on you have kids u deal with it I dont have any so I dont deal with it you cant have your cake and eat it too.planned parenthood if u can afford kids dont have them
Mr. Poster 5/5/2014 1:39:43 PM Report

It is sad that kids as young as 3 are in school and parents expect all of us to chip in for their expenses. The school system loves it because it brings in extra dollars to the boards. Did anyone really give a thought to how these young babies feel being in school?
MarcHandthefunkybunch 5/5/2014 1:49:27 PM Report

If you can't afford to have kids, then don't have kids. If you don't have family or friends who can help you out, don't have kids. It's a simple concept many people don't understand.
eadiecougs 5/5/2014 1:55:10 PM Report

there mark e sounds like a nice place to watch your kids
SEO 5/5/2014 2:14:48 PM Report

Way to go Rachel that is a well written letter. These daycare's are well run and safe to leave your kids in. For all you old geezers that say stay at home and take care of your kids..your 8 dollar an hour job took care of your family way back in your youth, when bread was 25 cents a loaf. Young parents today are forced to work many jobs to make ends meet, as most are in contract or part time jobs and they are struggling on their income's. Many can't afford cable and do not have big houses with big cars but are managing on jobs that pay little more than minimum wage..These daycare's are not free. They pay and I am sure most of these working Mom's would rather be staying home with their kid..Support them Sault Ste Marie they are the future of our city. We need the youth to stay here or you old guys that are always so negative on this site will be stuck with your paid off old homes when you want to sell them to go into the home...
tone44 5/5/2014 2:44:46 PM Report

I am not sure if daycare should be funded by tax payer dollars. I am in the mind set that kids are being dropped off at these day cares and parents can go on with there 2 cars and 400000 houses. Some as early as 6 months. WOW!!! If anything there should be more money given to stay at home mom or dads who sacrifice everything for there child. The people that say its impossible these days to do it on one income is a bunch of bull. You sacrifice a little now for a greater reward later. Come on they will be in school from 4 years old until there 23. Spend time with your kids!!!!!!! If you want daycare then you have to pay.
tone44 5/5/2014 2:50:39 PM Report

And no disrespect for the families that are barely making it by that need to work two jobs. But for the majority of people i know that put there kids in daycare can easily survive on one income. Instead they choose the high end lifestyle. Once your sucked into the lifestyle its hard to leave it.
theprotector 5/5/2014 2:59:20 PM Report

very well written letter however why are tax dollars being used to fund this? Who is using this program that cant afford it? If they are working and cannot afford it fine...if they are out looking for work that is ok as well as long as it is substanciated. It always bothered me when my grand kids got told there was no room left in daycare except for those parents that needed a break and social assistance (tax payer) was paying for spots.
forse2 5/5/2014 3:10:37 PM Report

You people out there who are ignorant to the fact that, safe and professional care and teaching at the Early ages is the best a child can have. Some of you may not have children, this is your choice, so does this mean we should forget the families that do, and want the best up bringing that is available for their child. Their are many private daycares that provide a great service, but these two City daycares have proven that they are a major part of our community. My wife has been working for the City for about 20 years now, and we still get kids, in their teens, recognizing her as the great teacher she is and the great impact she left on them. These two centers are filled with excellent teachers. This is only about money ! There are ways to make this work and not cause anymore tax dollars to the people that don't have children. With the waiting lists like they are, doesn't this mean anything ! Use your imagination. I know that there are many moms and dads out there that are concerned, its time to show your support. And one more thing, to the ones out there complaining about having to pay a little for other families, get a life and please don't have kids!!
bulletcards 5/5/2014 4:13:05 PM Report

the only people that should be getting any child care subsidized should be the ones who are going to school or professional education to upgrade their employability. welfare and not trying= nope, making a good income=nope. If you can't afford a child or 2/3/4 of them don't make babies.
rider_ 5/5/2014 5:19:39 PM Report

take it pronto, too many spoil parent get a free ride "raise my kid", we need the $$$ elsewhere
Opstday 5/5/2014 6:46:56 PM Report

RJP - thanks for straightening out Big Daddy
mizzy 5/5/2014 8:05:35 PM Report

It seems very clear that many of the commenters are uninformed of the research supporting healthy early childhood development supporting children to become successful adults who won't be using 'money' from the so-called 'system'.

I would much rather support families early in development in order to ensure that these children do not 'tax' our systems later on in life through Ontario Works, justice system, etc. There are a variety of families using these centres including working families, subsidized spots and children in care. Some families are using these centres to provide their children with good early socialization with other children (even stay-at-home moms!).

These programs run by our city (but also supported through full fee paying families) are two of the most successful in our city. They are model programs that many other child cares should be modelling their services by.

Please keep these child cares open! Our families and children (our future) deserve it!!
zzeke 5/5/2014 9:41:55 PM Report

Some people on here make the other daycares in the city sound like fly by night operations for second class citizens.
sooperman 5/5/2014 9:48:54 PM Report

@mark e,
hope the daycare takes off for u, I know of 2 little lbl's and 2 little fin-dzl's that would be there if we didn't leave soo to better ourselves

in regards to the letter:
don't have kids if you can't afford them

firefly77 5/5/2014 10:21:44 PM Report

I have a child who attends Jessie Irving as did his older sister they have both been to other daycares and from my own experience Jessie Irving is by far the best place for children. The teachers are amazing and treat each and every child as if they were their own. My children are excited to go to school each and every day and I pay almost $400 a month for him to attend but I wouldn't have it any other way. I know I will be very very disappointed if it closes as I feel it will be taking away from so many other children who should have the opportunity to attend such a wonderful amazing place for children to grow and make ever lasting and very important friendships. It would be a tragedy to close such an important part of Sault Ste Marie!!
ashley-dawn 5/5/2014 11:42:40 PM Report

I leave my children everyday with a private daycare provider, best decision I have ever made! I interviewed many licensed daycares and by far this unlicensed daycare was the best. When I drop in unexpectedly no one scrambles or asks why I am there or tells me to leave. The food that is provided is nutritious and the children are all taught well while in their care. Each parent makes the best decisions for their families, whether it's sending their child to a licensed daycare or not, we need all the child care this city provides and MORE, not less!! Keep them open!!
justsomeguy 5/6/2014 9:02:56 AM Report


Granted there are people who put their children second to their careers, or have had children before they reached financial stability, however there are things that happen. Layoffs, changes in career due to health (this is one hell of an unhealthy city), rising costs forcing both parents to work. Not everything is as back & white as you make it out to be.

I'm unhappy about having to pay so much in taxes, but it's really a minute % of our taxes, plus if they eliminated daycare funding, do you really believe our taxes would be reduced in response?
fordz 5/6/2014 9:35:23 AM Report

It saddens me to see the ignorance and lack of education in this matter along with the negative comments on hear. Just goes to show some people love to talk about things they really have no clue about. Childcare in this city has been around since the 70's. Which is back in the day. To start the city has reported that they are faced with 800,00 and some odd dollars because of cuts. Wrong! that is all the the subsidized spots in the city together. Every daycare that has spots are being cut not just the city. The city only has to come up with funding to cover their own cent res, not all of them. They are making it sound like the 800,000 is all theirs. Its not! Daycare has always been a need in this city and across Ontario. There is always a waiting list. Daycare provides an opportunity for parents to help there children with the early help they need. With add and autism just to name a few problems children can have. It is essential to have the resources for our children to help better their lives and success in school and their future. I hate to say, but gamma with the long grey hair pooping out her mole watching little Tommy to save the parents a few bucks, aint gonna help the big picture.That child will get lost in big school. That child wont get the diagnoses in school for yrs cause the school system has a 3 yr waiting list for children. I dont see one daycare in this city open past 6pm. The city can run 24 hr child care. Make some money. There is a definite need for that. Alot of people work crazy hrs. Make some money instead of just being an empty building. There are so many other solutions and needs for daycare to stay to even list. Our future is our children. That steel plant that we been backing since the day its been open is not what we need for a future. Its educate and provide the best resources and early ed for our loved ones are whats needed. Anyone who things everyone who attends college or works makes what the steel plant men and women make. Need to give their heads a shake. Population makes a modest living and lives modest lives. The day an age that women stay home and gamma watches the kids or gran kids are gone. Pull your head out of your bottom. This aint 1950 educate yourself and if your gonna put your two cents in. Know what your talking about. They children and staff of the city's childcare programs deserve to stay open and provide the quality service they have been since the 70's. WE need them! we dont need tax dollars to support daycare. The city's got other departments and surplus of moneys at this point. Read their latest report on the budget. I did! They can figure out many alternatives. Saving this city starts with the kids. Let them grow up happy, healthy and educated. Day cares where it starts. For all the old miserable people on hear running your mouth about tax dollars. You had your time. let this be the time for kids. Lets not make everything about you. We stand in line at stores and wait endlessly while you scrape together your pennies for twenty mins to pay for a pack of gum. Stop thinking the world revolves around you. Think of the kids!
BT1979 5/7/2014 1:18:05 PM Report

Welcome to another forum where un-educated people who have such anger and hatred toward people who work hard for what they have and earned in life. Let’s face it! I am not going to sit here and judge and speak for everyone. To have read posts in many other forums and digest some of the comments that people feel the need to share based on some particular theory they have regarding higher class, middle class or lower class being out to get them. Really! Is that what this is all about? Getting back at each other or being money hungry? Well let me tell you one thing that I learned growing up. I grew up with values and respect for people. I was taught to make things right and if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it at all. Be true to yourself and to others. I am sure all those who have illnesses and who have their JUSTIFIED reasoning for not being able to work you are deserving of your rights as citizens. But for most let’s face it your taking advantage of a lot more than DAYCARE here. If you want to sit on your bottom and do nothing all day, then you live with it. It’s easy to say we are tired of paying wages to those who have kids that can’t take care of them but in turn there are quite a few things that most of us are paying for from our tax dollars that we have no control over that are un-deserving as well.
The best lines I’ve read so far....”If you can’t take care of your kids, don’t have them!” Well how about this, do not cry, do not sneeze, do not help that man in need on the side of the road, do not do anything because we are afraid of the outcome. Do you really know what people are doing in their own homes? Or are you just speculating like usual. We do not know if people are leading the high life and if so I’m sure some of them are worthy of it. What I do know is my wife and I have a beautiful son who we love and cherish who attends a municipal daycare (JESSIE IRVING). Without them I would not be able to provide for my son and for my family. I’ll tell you one thing I am not rich or live a high life style. If you want to put your children in private day care do it. If you want your children in Municipal Daycare then do it. IT’S YOUR CHOICE because it’s your kids.
It seems to me that the negative comments in this forum have no education on this matter in hand. First and for most I would like to give my round of applause for such a perfect letter. Let's first talk about budgets and the deficits that Sault Ste. Marie has. Having an ongoing interest in the budget plans and observing each priority rating for some of the important demands associated with each request is interesting. I keep tabs in what the city asks for and yes some of it is outrageous and not necessary. Also, by reading the economy's deficit proposals I can honestly tell you it does not take a miracle worker to say that any one particular closure will make a difference in our "TAX BREAK" that everyone here in this forum is complaining about. Don't worry because shutting down the Municipal Daycares seems to me will not solve our TAX PROBLEM but will have a rather large domino effect on the bigger picture this city is going through. We are falling apart far worse than this.
People work, people have children, to build growth, to send them to school to grow up to make a path for themselves and give back to society. You take that all away and now parents stay home, EI is bombarded with unemployed educated people, no kids in schools, no children, society has completely fallen apart. Do we really care about the kids or do we care about the dollar amount we just put on them?
Most of us went to school, got an education and are well deserving of what we make...correct? I did not want to be a doctor to get paid that money so whatever I was destined to do was what I became and that’s what we all did with one goal on our mind. To give the rest of our families the best WE COULD in order to survive. Imagine we paid for health care? Think about it. A lot of us would not be complaining about the little things.
The interesting fact here is that this year is election year. There are a lot of parents who will be upset. The worst thing the city will have done is shut down Municipal Daycares. Would you let an unregistered doctor perform surgery on you, would you let someone who is not qualified do something that needs qualification for? When it comes to children, we want the best. When a child gets hurt or abused or mistreated CAS will be all over you in 5 minutes and you will have to prove otherwise. When it comes to a government granted facility where ALL COUNCEL AND HIGHLY RECOGNIZED INDIVIDUALS IN THIS CITY should be visiting on a regular basis to give praise to those hardworking individuals who take pride in what they do, to thank them, to tell them they are appreciated, and to acknowledge that their service is just as important as the rest of the hardworking class in this city at ANY WAGE. You damn right it would be in tip top shape. It would be a shame to see these people lose their jobs because they have families. How about a pay freeze up top? How about job loss up there? Wouldn’t that hurt your well being? Damn right you would feel it.
No disrespect for those who are talented and who have good work ethics but that is why the unemployment rate in this city is low. In every interview you are asked by HIGHLY QUALIFIED people what qualifications we have and most of the time I’ll bet my bottom dollar that certification will have prevailed. I know it because I am a good citizen of this community and I do not have the qualifications to do certain things but I am grateful that they have said I’m sorry you do not have the qualifications. There are people out there I can trust to do what they do because they are qualified especially when it comes to my son. I’m proud of you guys there at Jessie and never think for one minute you’re not appreciated.
When the ballots get counted what’s in store for SSM?
Please do not feel the need to reply with negativity. This is my opinion and I’m not here to argue back. I’ll wait for May 12th when city meets to discuss this matter!
NewtoSault 5/9/2014 9:33:27 AM Report

I would like to thank the people who submitted their educated opinions. These city run facilities are not all subsidized and I pay the full amount of almost $800.00 per month. People who are subsidized have filled out the forms for a reason. Not everyone wants to work for minimum wage, but someone has to. Our tax dollars should be spent wisely and in my opinion, health and education are at the top! These city day cares are run very well and I'm glad my tax dollars are being used there. Without them there will be a lot more issues regarding safety, children without daycare due to special needs, more people on EI and eventually overloaded prisons from kids who fall through the cracks in school and can't keep a job. The Soo needs these daycares to stay open!
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