Norwood daycare expansion in jeopardy
Provincial cuts could doom 39 new daycare spots at Hucklebug
A plan to add spaces to a daycare centre in Norwood may be cancelled and fees could increase at eight other daycares unless both Peterborough city and county agree to help with funding.
Hucklebug Child Care Centre in Norwood was going to add 39 daycare spots, but now that plan’s in jeopardy.
Meanwhile seven daycares in the city and one in the county all may have to increase their fees next year.
According to the staff report, those daycares include:
> Hucklebug Child Care (at their Havelock location)
> Centre Educatif Les Petits Curieux
> Compass Early Learning and Care
> City of Peterborough Child Care and Pearson Child Care á Strath-MacLean Childcare á Trent Child Care
> YMCA Child Care
It’s all because Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government has announced plans to decrease its funding for daycares.
The previous Liberal provincial government had planned in 2017 to create 100,000 new daycare spaces over five years at no cost to municipalities.
Between 2017 and 2020, a total of 424 new, full-time daycare spaces across Peterborough city and county were planned under the program.
Some of those spaces haven’t been added yet.
For example, there’s going to be daycares soon at the new East City public elementary school and the McRae building,
the vacant Fleming trade school that is being converted into apartments for single mothers.
Those two projects are already under construction, states the staff report, and aren’t being proposed for cancellation.
But the eight daycare centres mentioned above have already expanded their spaces and were expecting ongoing operating money from the provincial government — and now they’re facing cutbacks.
The provincial government says starting in 2020 it will fund 80 per cent of the cost to run those new spaces rather than 100 per cent.
That leaves the city and county to pay the remaining 20 per cent annually (which is about $435,000 for 2020).
If city council and county council agree to it, they can split the annual cost: $300,000 for the city, and $135,000 for the county.
Yet city council can’t wait until the 2020 budget talks in January to make a commitment — they’re expected to discuss it at a meeting Tuesday at city hall.
That’s because the provincial government wants to know by Oct. 30 whether the city and county are committed to paying 20 per cent of the cost to run the new Hucklebug spots in Norwood.
Without that confirmation, the province won’t allow construction to start in Norwood (which was planned to accommodate the new spaces).
The city staff report recommends paying extra to fund the expanded daycare spaces.