On May 17, 2016, the Ministry of Education announced regulatory changes that propose banning non-refundable wait list fees for child care spaces in Ontario. This marked the successful end to a seven-month effort by MPP Arthur Potts (Beaches-East York) to have the practice prohibited.
The issue first came to light thanks to BEY constituents Nadine Blum and Kelly Doctor. Ms Blum raised the issue to MPP Potts' office in an email in August, 2015, and in a meeting with MPP Potts a few weeks later. MPP Potts and his staff helped draft a petition that was circulated by Ms Blum and Ms Doctor, and the petition was presented in the Legislature in early April, 2016.
Once the issue was raised in caucus it was then pursued with staff at the Ministry of Education. After several weeks' work and discussion, MPP Potts introduced a private member's bill, and the regulations were announced shortly thereafter. MPP Potts called the result an example of "citizens and government working together to improve the lives of Ontarians." You can read his thoughts on the effort by clicking HERE.
The regulatory changes are currently in consultation, and the public is encouraged to participate. Please click HERE to have your say on the proposed changes.
The full news release can be found below:
Ontario is proposing a regulation that would ban licensed child care centres and home child care agencies from charging fees to join a waiting list for child care programs.
The proposed regulation is now available on the Ontario Regulatory website for public feedback. This consultation period will close on July 4, 2016.
Other key aspects of the proposed regulatory amendment are:
Giving Ontario's children the best possible start in life is part of the government's economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.
“I can assure you that I share parents’ concerns over wait list fees. We are listening to families across Ontario and have heard their frustration about having to pay fees to simply be on a waiting list for child care. We are continuing to work with our stakeholders and partners to build a high-quality and accessible child care and early years system that will better serve Ontario’s children and families.”
“These changes are an important step in making quality child care spaces more affordable and accessible. Thanks to local parents who brought this to my attention. I am very pleased that our Premier and the Hon. Minister Sandals have addressed this issue of high wait list fees and lack of transparency and are moving forward on changing the rules in just a few short months.”
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