David, Celia and Rod put their cards on the childcare tableThursday, May 15, 2014 by: Darren Taylor
Local candidates from the three major political parties involved in the June 12 provincial election have shared their views with SooToday.com in regards to the issue of much-needed, subsidized daycare spaces in Sault Ste. Marie.
Their input is timely, as council will decide June 23 if the city should transfer 100 municipally-operated daycare spaces to other licensed daycare providers.
“From our perspective, funding (for childcare) has continued to increase,” Sault Ste. Marie Liberal MPP David Orazietti said.
Celia Ross, NDP candidate, said a New Democrat government would immediately provide a one-time, $100 million injection into provision of childcare in the province.
Progressive Conservative candidate Rod Fremlin said lower taxes under a PC government would mean more money in the pockets of parents who need to pay for childcare.
1,044 children are on a waiting list for daycare in Sault Ste. Marie.
City staff say getting out of childcare would mean a saving of $650,000 to the city annually, but 32 good-paying municipal daycare jobs would be lost if the 100 spaces were operated by other providers.
City staff have recommended council make the tough decision to do so because a cut of almost $1 million in direct annual childcare funding to the Sault from the Liberal government will take effect in January 2015.
That has left Sault Ste. Marie’s District Social Services Administration Board (DSSAB) officials to draw up a new program funding model aimed at preserving as many subsidized spaces as possible.
The new model means funding cuts range from 13 percent to 27.5 percent.
The city’s own daycare program would take a 27.5 percent cut in its funding from DSSAB, to be phased in throughout 2014 and 2015.
City taxpayers currently subsidize daycare services by paying the DSSAB $1.2 million as the city’s share for all daycare spaces the DSSAB funds, and also pay for the two city-run municipal daycare centres (Jessie Irving and Maycourt) and the Best Start Program.
Orazietti said he acknowledged there are 1,044 children on a waiting list for childcare locally, but said government numbers show a decrease in the child population has lowered the need for childcare spaces in the community since 1990 by 46 percent.
Still, Orazietti said the Liberals, since taking power in 2003, have increased childcare spending from $3.8 million to $5.6 million annually in Sault Ste. Marie.
“It’s complicated, but basically we’ve provided mitigation funding (to lessen the pain of cuts) which is four times greater than the amount that would have been reduced,” Orazietti said.
In addition, Orazietti said “implementation of the government’s full-day kindergarten program will save parents $6,500 a year per child in respect to childcare.”
Orazietti pointed to the Liberal government’s proposed Child Care Modernization Act, which died when the Legislature was dissolved after the NDP and Progressive Conservatives stated they would not support Premier Kathleen Wynne’s 2014 budget.
In that bill, Orazietti said, were many things that would have improved childcare across Ontario.
Those items included a four-year, $346 million plan to “further strengthen” childcare services, increasing the Ontario Child Benefit and tying it to the rate of inflation, wage increases for childcare workers, increases to the Student Nutrition Program aimed at providing 56,000 more children a healthy, nutritious start to the day, help for autistic children and other children with special needs, among other measures.
Regardless, New Democrat candidate Ross said that does not change the fact there have indeed been cuts made by the Liberals in the amount of almost $1 million in direct annual childcare funding in Sault Ste. Marie, with 1,044 children on a waiting list.
“It’s pretty serious...the city is saying we could pass this on to the private daycare operators but they are operating at capacity right now, there will be fewer childcare spaces in the Sault, and that need will grow and not shrink.”
“Full-day kindergarten starts at age four…what do parents do before then?” Ross said.
“We want to make life more affordable and we want to make sure Moms and Dads have access to affordable and licensed childcare across Ontario and in Sault Ste. Marie, and we believe in indexed transfers to communities for this daycare to keep pace with inflation.”
Ross agreed with NDP leader Andrea Horwath’s plan for a $100 million one-time cash injection to stabilize daycare if the New Democrats are elected June 12.
Of the city’s daycare problem, Progressive Conservative candidate Fremlin said “the PCs are staying away from it because it is a city issue right now, but my own personal opinion is that when we get elected I would like to emphasize the fact we’re going to lower taxes on your take home pay, and there’ll be a substantial, definite increase in the amount of money you take home at the end of the day.”
“The end result is if they decide to unload municipally-run daycare then the problem would be solved for the parents (if their take home pay is increased through tax cuts),” Fremlin said.
“I wouldn’t count on municipal daycare going if the PCs are elected…I know the PCs are going to take care of the elderly, and as for the young children up and coming, it will be addressed and they won’t turn their backs on daycare.”
“It won’t be a case of ‘what do I do, I don’t have a place to take my children,’ that’s not going to happen… the PCs won’t turn their backs on Sault Ste. Marie at all,” Fremlin said.
arizonagryphon3 5/15/2014 8:38:15 PM Report
Maybe more childcare spots would open up if subsidized care was not open to welfare recipients. Can someone answer why people who don't work take these valuable spots? Thanks NDP. What about helping people who actually try to support themselves and their families?
johnnyc 5/15/2014 10:28:43 PM Report
Contrary to your complete ignorance...there are many people on social assistance (welfare was a term used by rednecks that is no longer acceptable), who work and require assistance with child care costs.
scottstewy123 5/16/2014 1:15:45 AM Report
johnnyc I happen to know there are some that do not work. But yet get daycare. The Childrens aide society gets these parents the spot so the parents can have a break.So the previous poster is correct.
Just Curious 5/16/2014 7:24:10 AM Report
And welfare is still welfare, no matter what other name you choose to give it..
MYPOINT 5/16/2014 7:30:47 AM Report
is as follows ...
OPEN QUESTION FOR DAVID, CELIA, + ROD:
If I give you my vote, are YOU willing to ensure that some sort of recall method (51%+1) is put into place for all future Provincial elections after this one so that we, the voters, can fire anyone who breaks the 'contract' they make with us by lying to us by making promises they have no intention of keeping and by doing so, are in fact stealing our votes during all future election campaigns?
It is a simple question that I shall be asking every one of you if you happen to come to my door asking for my vote. I shall also be asking it at any debates that you three decide to have ( if any ) and I shall pester you about it until each of you gives me an honest answer.
I know that each of you or one of your staff involved with your campaigns are reading these comments so there is no use in any of you trying to ignore this question.
As always, your views may differ :)
Me Myself an I 5/16/2014 7:42:38 AM Report
All well and good except taxes will never go down for individuals, only corporations.
And if by some miracle they do lower sales, or income taxes. you will lose any savings via user fees
derand2 5/16/2014 8:05:55 AM Report
The choices in this election are crystal clear. You don't need to listen to what comes out of the mouth of any of these candidates - blah, blah, blah...
With the Liberals you get incompetence, corruption, lies and a province in deeper trouble than it already is in.
With the NDP you get incompetence and the province will continue to slide into bankruptcy.
With the PCs you get tough and unpopular measures to stabilze and begin to turn around the train wreck Ontario is headed towards.
Whether its this election or the next, those tough and unpopular measures are inevitable. Only difference is, if voters postpone the inevitable it's going to hurt a lot more.
ThinkAgain 5/16/2014 8:13:08 AM Report
Detroit was the first US state to go bankrupt, Ontario will be the first Canadian province to do the same.
I wish these monkeys would all go to jail for corruption, embezzlement and fraud.
Two wrongs do not make one right.
realitycheck 5/16/2014 8:20:20 AM Report
The story says 1,044 children are on a waiting list for daycare in Sault Ste. Marie.
Are they on a list for simply daycare, subsidized daycare, municipal daycare, what? Or is the story saying there is no daycare for these children? If so, what are the parents doing? Staying home?
Wobbler 5/16/2014 8:41:29 AM Report
Orazietti said “implementation of the government’s full-day kindergarten program will save parents $6,500 a year per child in respect to childcare.”
Let me get this straight....with some random numbers. (On gross wages) Paying a teacher about $40,000/year (with 2 months off to do as they choose), as opposed to paying a day care worker $29,000/year (for 12 months) saves money where? Eliminating about 32 day care jobs at $29,000 per year comes out to about $928,000. So with a cost savings to parents of $6500; that comes out to about 143 local parents saving that amount.
Now along with these job losses would come less money injected into our local economy and possible relocation of the now jobless citizens. Or maybe on the other side of the coin, after their EI benefits run out these jobless citizens would have to take advantage of our welfare benefits (Ontario Works). Then Lord forbid, they will find a minimum paying job where their daycare would have to be funded by the city!!
And the ball keeps rolling..............
truenorth 5/16/2014 9:02:00 AM Report
To respond to Derand: you believe that the PC's are the best party - Hudak states he is going to create new jobs - what kind of jobs - minimum wage jobs with no benefits - he states going to cut 100,000 public service jobs and believes totally in privitazation of gov't services - and where are the tax dollars going to come from when once again the middle class get slammed and cant afford their homes or stay active consumers - everyone google the blog from the Canadian Centre of Policy Alternatives " Behind the #ONelxn Spin" - Hudak as premier - makes George Bush look like an angel
Montec 125 5/16/2014 9:21:10 AM Report
Better get some bang for our buck for all these subsidies. Example Green power
Cannot operate without a subsidy.Check your current and future hydro bill. Paying thru the noise so we can sell surplus Kw's to Quebec at bargain basement prices for resale to USA. Ont. taxpayers subsidize a Quebec profit. Spend your way out of dept? What planet?
Belt tightening is inevitable. Get used to it for a while. Puts me in mind of the Stompin Tom tune. Yes we are the people Runnin in the Race, buyin all the bargains in the old market place. another deal on something , better buy it while its hot. Spending all that money with money we ain't got. Sinkin in?
Tills 5/16/2014 10:42:10 AM Report
Your hit the bulls eye!!!!My question aswell to the candidates!!
BT1979 5/16/2014 12:11:17 PM Report
I strongly agree with everyone saying that no matter what party you vote for, there will be empty promises delivered like usual. They will all tell us what we want to hear to steal our vote and then give us the 45.
There are enough families out there that will pay the full WAGE of the daycare which is $40.00 a day. The subsidy should be granted to those and used in the private sector. I know there are 1000 families on the waiting list and a large % are capable of paying their wage for daycare. It's very simple. The daycare expense is not a significant amount of cost in the city compared to the amount of money that is being paid out. The loss of these day cares will create a domino effect on society. JOBS LOST, E.I JAMMED, WELFARE INCREASES, TAXES GOING UP TO SUPPORT THIS, KIDS WITHOUT DAYCARE SO PARENTS CAN WORK TO SUPPORT FAMILY AND CREATE ECONOMIC STABILITY, ALL THE BENEFITS WILL BE LOST TO CHIROPRACTORS, MASSAGE, DENTAL, ETC....EVERYONE LOOSES. I am a father who's son goes to one of the municipal day cares and without them I will not be able to work to provide for him. For those who are wondering if I get subsidy....NO NO NO...I pay the full wage of $40.00 a day which is $800.00 month for my son. So having said that I need them and think they deserve what they get paid along with the service that they provide which is far above and beyond my expectations. Hands to them....they deserve it....Don't make the mistake counsel and everyone above....do what you promise to do and make society grow not only for the well being of the people but the future of our kids.....
Don't make the mistake that will cause a major back lash on life for people.
chatterbox 5/16/2014 2:17:52 PM Report
Might some of these wide ranging cuts impact fire protection? What about contracting out fire services? What about firefighters making north of 100k, plus having another full time job like running a contractor's business or being a real estate agent with all of their time off? Better yet, after your hard years of firefighting you get to retire early. Your background (firefighter) is opposite to the philosophy of the party/leader you are trying to represent...
To Mr. Hudak:
Just like Mr. Harris and his fiscally NOT neutral LSR excersise, give me the figures.
How much will you save the average tax payer?
HOw much will you cost the average tax payer in terms of increased costs to recieve the same services? Pretty simple part of your platform I would think?
AlwaysAWinner 5/16/2014 2:45:31 PM Report
people need to STFU about others making over 100,000 working for the government
anyone whining about high salaries doesn't have one. simple as that.
don't complain because someone makes more money than you do and since they're public sector, you somehow get an opinion on it. you don't. you're living in the soo complaining about someone making 100,000. news flash, you're not special, important, or skilled. this is why you don't make 100K a year and you're complaining about it
this city is filled with bums
AlwaysAWinner 5/16/2014 3:14:46 PM Report
oh no there's firefighters making over $100,00 a year. what horror
you shouldn't be allowed to vote if your big concerns are how people who SAVE LIVES are making more than you think they should
chatterbox 5/16/2014 3:34:13 PM Report
Just calling it as I see it Winner...Luckily in a democratic province complete with free speach, I can say and think what I want, and I still get to vote!!!
I mean absolutely no disrespect to Mr. Fremlin, and I don't necessarily feel that firefighters are overpaid or underworked. I'm just dumbfounded at the choice in candidate given Hudak's platform. Hudak won't get in, but if he does, he'll take a run at firefighters along with teachers, and many others in the public service...Unfortuneatly he won't turn his back, but do it while glaring at them with that fake Conservative grin of his...
chatterbox 5/16/2014 3:36:40 PM Report
Winner, also keep in mind the 'too many public service employees on the sunshine list' comments are Hudaks, I simply took it one step further
valshaun 5/19/2014 5:05:43 PM Report
The subsidized spots should defineately be open to working parents. I never understood why a stay at home mom would take their children to daycare and fill one of the subsidized spots for parents who are working for a living.Makes no sense