Licensed Child Care Programs Disappointed In Amendments To Bill 10
November 28, 2014
The Ontario governments Standing Committee on Social Policy has amended Bill 10--the Child Care Modernization Act--and sent it on for Third Reading. Many of Ontarios licensed child care programs are expressing disappointment that the amendments did not address the concerns they have about the Bill.
Essentially, Bill 10 allows unelected municipal and provincial officials to limit the supply of licensed child care in any community, says Greg Humphreys, chair of the Government Relations Committee of the Association of Day Care Operators of Ontario (ADCO). This means less parental choice and potentially much higher child care costs.
Under Bill 10, municipal governments, many of which own and operate their own licensed child care programs, may recommend to the Ministry which other centres in their local areas are allowed to operate. These recommendations can be based on criteria unrelated to the quality of the care being provided or a centres prior inspection history.
At the same time, Bill 10 gives Ministry inspectors the right to levy administrative penalties (fines) of up to $100,000 for an alleged infraction of the Act, up to one year after the alleged infraction occurred. The Governments amendments to Bill 10 do not address the obvious lack of any meaningful right of appeal for licensed child care owner/operators accused of regulatory infractions. If fined for an alleged infraction, child care owner/operators may request that a senior Ministry employee review the situation, but they only have 15 days to make this request.
Certainly, the timeframes given each party seem disproportionate, notes Humphreys. However, there is a more basic question here. If the point is to keep children safer, why wouldnt the Ministry want to issue the fine on the spot, or certainly within 48 hours of documenting the violation? From a purely practical standpoint, even a few weeks later is too late for the Ministry or the owner/operator to prove or disprove whether a violation has even occurred. The proposed regulations and schedule of fines have yet to be shared with licensed child care programs.
In its current form, Bill 10 has the potential to inflict serious damage on Ontarios licensed child care sector and may well impact its ability to keep serving the hundreds of thousands of families that rely on it each day, notes Humphreys. ADCO looks forward to working with the Government during the regulatory consultation process to allay the fears child care owner/operators have about Bill 10 and ensure that Ontario families will have choice in child care and access to a broad range of affordable, high quality licensed child care programs.
For further information on the work done by the Association of Day Care Operators of Ontario, please visit http://www.adco-o.on.ca/.For more information contact
The Association of Day Care Operators of Ontario
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