Changes coming to rules governing Ontario daycares
Infants and toddlers continue to have trouble finding places in Ontario daycares.
Spots in those daycares expected to be freed up thanks to the rollout of full-day kindergarten have remained blocked.
Daycare providers say it’s simply more cost-effective to take care of older kids for short periods of time before and after school than to take in younger kids for the whole day.
But slowly, signs of change are sprouting up.
With full-day kindergarten implemented at about 75 per cent of Ontario schools, Education Minister Liz Sandals says changes to the rules governing daycares in the province are in need of an update.
“The Day Nurseries Act is decades out of date,” she tells CTV News.
A review of the act is already underway, looking at questions around staffing ratios and other issues that may be in need of tweaking.
Sandals says she wants to see the act focus less on facility requirements and more on effective all-day learning programs.
Daycares that have been waiting for a full implementation of full-day kindergarten before making adjustments say a review of the Day Nurseries Act is a good idea.
“It’s important that we providers get some legislative support to make it more effective in terms of our costs as well as costs to parents,” says John Haddock, CEO of the Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge YMCAs.
Those thoughts are echoed by Krista Scott, director of the Inspiring Mind Learning Centre in Wellesley.
“Many of us in child care don’t have a business background – we have an early childhood education background,” she says.
At Conestoga College, which has approximately 500 ECE students this year, community services chair Goranka Vukelich says the education sector is still working its way through the changes brought on by full-day kindergarten.
“The migration to full-day learning is a journey, and we’re still in the midst of that journey,” she says.
Part of that journey includes a new daycare facility being built at the University of Waterloo.
Called the Bright Starts Co-operative Learning Centre, it will see the school’s three existing independent daycares join forces to take care of a greater number of children – although only 20 infant spaces are expected when the facility opens in early 2014.
CTV’s Lee Boyadjian is looking at the state of daycare in Waterloo Region in a special series this week on CTV News.