How intense pressure from for-profit daycares has transformed Ontario’s rollout of $10-a-day child care — and sparked a political standoff that could reshape the province’s future.
“Parents are losing sleep,” says Karen Chedina, a mother of two in Sudbury, Ontario. “They think they’ll never manage and they have to take time off work to provide support.”
“For them it’s like a crisis,” says Chris Hahn, a director of a daycare. “They’re going to find out that the job they thought they were doing is now a huge struggle.”
In the last year, Ontario has added more than a hundred new daycares to its roster of for-profit licensed operators (LOs) — a move that has created a new child care crisis.
“It’s been a nightmare just trying to get the numbers,” says Mark Cuddy, director of a private operator in Sudbury. “It’s all of sudden a huge market and we’ve had to get people onto our waitlists from across the country. People have had to be turned away.”
With no publicly available data to track the number of unlicensed workers providing child care, it’s impossible to say how much children and families are losing.
In any case, the increase in the number of unlicensed child care workers has led to a surge in child care waitlists. In 2016, the government began posting waitlist information for daycares across the province. Since then, more than 30,000 children have now had to wait to attend a daycare provider.
The government’s child care waitlist website, which shows whether a waitlist has been reached, has caused a stir in the legislature. (Photo: Facebook/Ontario Child Care Waitlists Collaborative)
“The government should have looked at the situation over a year ago,” says Liberal legislator David Tilley. “The reality