Ontario’s new Childcare Bill 10

Recently, as I have been getting more and more engaged with the childcare communities in and out of Alberta, I have been wondering how things differ across the country!  And it turns out, quite a lot!

In Ontario, they are going through a change to their childcare policies and regulations, the process of which is going to be implemented gradually over the next couple of years.   As I read through Bill 10 and the Childcare Modernization Act, I had a number of questions (those legal, government documents can sometimes seem like reading Chinese!), and so I fired off an email to the Ministry of Education, Child Care Quality Assurance and Licensing, really, not expecting an answer (because honestly, that has been the response I’ve gotten here in Alberta).  Well, I was pleasantly surprised!! Within a few days, I had a response, both respectful and comprehensive.

I asked about how private dayhomes and agencies work in Ontario, and what changes will be seen for both licensed dayhomes (with an agency) and unlicensed dayhomes as Bill 10 comes to be.

The response was as follows:

Dear Ms. Holt,

Thank you for your follow up questions about home child care in Ontario.

As mentioned in the previous response, under the Day Nurseries Act, licensed private-home day care agencies contract with individual providers who use their own homes to look after children. These providers are screened and monitored by home visitors who are employees of the private-home child care agency. Home visitors check that a home is safe before children are enrolled and conduct routine inspections to ensure caregivers are following provincial rules, as well as the agency’s policies and procedures. Home visitors can also help families find a home caregiver that is affiliated with a licensed agency and meets their needs.

Home visitors may also help individual providers affiliated with their agency by:

 developing programs for children at different stages of development

 providing advice about nutritious meal planning

 helping choose toys and equipment that are safe and suitable.

Provided it complies with the DNA (Day Nursies Act) and its regulations, each private-home day care agency has the discretion to choose how it manages its operations, including the services it provides for families and the supports it has in place for contracted providers.

There is no mid-sized child care classification in Ontario. Anyone who cares for more than five unrelated children under the age of 10 years must be licensed as a day nursery. All licensing requirements, including those related to building and accommodation must be met by the operator regardless of the size or location of the child care centre.

You may find the Orientation Package for New Operators  Orientation Pkg_Prospective Operators 2014 ENG FINAL helpful, as it contains a summary of licensing requirements for both child care centres and private-home day care agencies. As the Ministry of Education is currently experiencing a website outage, I have attached a copy of the Orientation Package for you.

You also asked follow-up questions related to Ontario’s new child care legislation, the Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA). The CCEYA will not come into force immediately. An incremental and phased process is planned to implement the provisions under the new act. The legislation needs to be officially “proclaimed” into effect and this is not expected to happen before Fall 2015. As you mentioned, the new Act will enable licensed home-based providers to care for six children (instead of the current five). Under the CCEYA, a child is defined as a person under 13 years of age.

The CCEYA would continue to permit unlicensed child care providers to care for a maximum of five children and would require that unlicensed providers adhere to the same age restrictions as licensed home-based child care (i.e. caring for no more than two children under two years of age) and that they include their own children under the age of six when determining the total number of children being cared for on the premises.

The CCEYA also provides flexibility to home child care providers with the option to exclude counting their own children who are four and five years old if they are enrolled in full-day kindergarten, and the provider cares for fewer than two children under two and meets prescribed criteria. Further details will be established by regulation.

To provide additional transition time for unlicensed providers when the CCEYA is proclaimed, it will include a special exception for unlicensed providers. The new rules on counting the provider’s own children and caring for no more than two children under the age of two will not apply to unlicensed child care providers until January 1, 2016 (or another day if one is set by regulation).

However, this exception only applies to a provider who was already providing care to the child on the day the Child Care Modernization Act, 2014 received Royal Assent (December 4, 2014). In order to implement and clarify all the requirements under the new act, the government will be drafting a broad range of regulations. All regulations under the act are subject to public consultation.

I encourage you to participate in future opportunities to provide your input to guide this work. As of proclamation, the new rules under the CCEYA will apply to all providers for children who started in their care after Dec. 4, 2014.

I hope this information is helpful. Thank you again for taking the time to write.

Sincerely,

Susan Stephen

Manager

(A) Attachment

Given the state of childcare in Alberta, is there anything you can see that we could learn from Ontario? Anything you are relieved we DON’T have to deal with that they do?

For more information about different regulations across Canada, per province, have a look at Dayhome Regulations across Canada – Sheet1

7 thoughts on “Ontario’s new Childcare Bill 10

  1. Andrea

    I have a few concerns regarding this reply: A home child care provider contracts with a licensed home child care agency and is deemed self-employed, not an employee of the agency and they do not hold a license.

    The regulations, yet to be issued, may reduce the number of children permitted in “unlicensed”care to less than 5 as stated in the CCEYA: “or if a lesser number is prescribed by the regulations, no more than the prescribed number of children” *Part II Protective Measures, unlicensed child care, five children or less (2 i.).

    It is not a given but rather up to the director whether an agency-affiliated provider may enroll a sixth child into their care or be part of a 2 provider model.

    All the best.

     
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  2. Shelly

    The new rules for Independents are completely unfair and unjustified. Here are the main reasons why:

    Min of Edu MPP Liz Sandals was quoted in 2013 as saying “we want to flip the incentive for Private providers to join an agency”.

    If an Independent Care Provider (ICP) chooses to be “regulated” her only choice is an agency and they will scoop 30% of her income as fees for regulation.

    Here’s how the agency works. They will will pay the contracted provider $23/27 per day per space and charge the parents $40/45 / day.

    An ICP charges between $35-$45 per day per space depending on the city she resides in. This is the most affordable care parents have in Ontario. The parents fees go directly to the ICP and her program.

    What incentive was given to the ICP to become regulated when:

    A) she loses a huge chunk of income joining an agency and can no longer support her family/business.
    B) she is still buying food and supplies for her program and paying her bills so therefore quality drops and needless to say so does her moral because she is now struggling to make ends meet.
    C) it works out that for her 10 hour days she is paid less than min wage.

    So you have about a $20000 investment on the provider’s part just to be regulated by an agency.

    This gives NO incentive for providers to become regulated- does it?

    This is the very reason that there are so many Independents in Ontario.

    The agency system is unfair to the providers and parents.

    As a parent who chooses home day care wouldn’t you prefer your $40-45/d to go directly into the program/provider?

    Or would you rather help an Agency get rich?
    How rich? We figured if all 70000 Ontario ICP’s joined onto an Agency it would be millions of dollars going out of our programs every year and going directly into the agencies pocket (many are for-profit).

    Now, was that well thought out by this Gov???

    You can’t take an already failing system (the agency system) and expect the successful system(the ICP) to jump aboard?? This makes zero sense. Yet this is what the Ontario Liberal Gov was trying to accomplish with Bill 10.

    The numbers don’t lie.
    There are 70000 successful ICPs that stay in the business successfully for 2-3 decades.
    There are roughly 6000 regulated home day cares that do not stay for long in the business due to poor pay and poor treatment and tough to fill spaces under such rigid, impossible rules.

    The interesting thing is, yet not surprising, was that the Agency had a part to play in the writing of Bill 10. There is big money to be made by them and the Gov included the agency sector in the process excluding ICP’s.
    Something is very wrong with that.

    When Bill 10 was introduced ICP’s asked for a few amendments. One of which was that instead regulating through an agency the Gov put in an option of an Individual licensing system. Where we pay a yearly fee and the Gov can come and inspect us to make sure we are safe and compliant.

    They refused. Why? It is possible they don’t want any part of the responsibility of keeping Ontario children safe as they stated the point of Bill 10 was in the first place??? It is certainly confusing, as clear as mud actually!

    Up until the new Bill the DNA was proven safe. It was actually the illegal daycares that had the safety issues. Those who where compliant had zero deaths. It was the non compliant’s that had the deaths.

    As well the Auditor General reported that there were 29000 serious incidents in Licensed Care including 6 deaths since the Min of Ed took over the roll of Early Childhood Education.

    So as we see it, the Independent Compliant Home Day Care is the safest by far in Ontario. She has had regulation for decades in terms of 5 parents walking through the door twice per day usually at different times of the day. This has been termed as a parent and a self regulating system and it has worked well with the DNA.

    What did not work was when the Min of Ed did not follow up on complaints from citizens suspecting an illegal daycare as in the case of the Vaughn death. The Ministry did not follow up on 5 complaints on this illegal day care operating without a license with 27 children. The parents are suing the Ontario Gov for 3.5 million dollars as we speak.

    The new Bill will require all ICP’s to count their own children (under age 6) and include them in the max of 5 children in her care. For a young mother to open a home day care with these new rules it will be very tough to support her family.

    As stated above the DNA was safe for compliant home day cares. However, we recognized that having no cap (5 daycare children not including ones own children) was not going to fly and after fighting for DNA to remain the same and seeing zero progress we changed the requested amendment of not counting our own to making it a max of 8 with some age restrictions and ratios.

    They refused this very reasonable amendment as well. This now sets up a scenario that will put a halt on new mothers opening a home day care thus over the next decade there will be fewer and fewer emerging, thus removing the affordable, safe, home away from home, option from parent’s choice. If you have no home daycares then you have one choice for most parents and that will be institutions.

    The 2 under 2 may seem like a good idea because hey, we all want our children to be safe and well cared for.
    We again say the DNA was proven safe. There were NO incidences where a woman had trouble getting more than 2 under 2 out of the house in an emergency as most children are walking by 12-16 months.

    The Min of Ed said she didn’t know how we would do it. Yet she made it clear in the Bill that the licensed centers who have way more children to gather in an emergency can have higher ratios than we do. They also have a different set of rules completely and don’t look at the age of 2 the same way as they do in home day cares. The questionable thing is ratios are higher and some buildings would be harder to get kids out compared to getting 5 kids out of a home.

    So why the unfairness towards ICP’s? One thing is clear, the Gov wants it to be very hard for ICP’s to stay in business. With the new rules ICP’s may now only take 2 under 2 with a max of 5 children. If you stop to think about how that is logistically, for a woman who isn’t making much money to begin with, it will be very tough to stay in business.

    Moms go off mat leave when babies are 1. Here is an example for you to consider:

    I am making ends meet with my home day care, I am full with 5 children all the time. I have 3 children leaving for school next Sept. 99% of people who are looking for care for next Sept have a 1 year old. I now can not fill one of my spaces. I am now losing $800 per month and I am self employed. I can’t cut back on daycare supplies because I still have 4 in care. As well, I need to still be able to pay my bills. I don’t know about you but $800 per month is basically my food bill for my family and my daycare. Every month that goes by I am losing $800 per month. Let’s say I then find a 2 year old after 5 months of having one space empty. Then I get notice that one of my families is leaving because dad lost his job. Here I go again, I can’t fill that space with a 1 yr old and I am losing another chunk of income. I won’t survive long. None of us will.

    This Bill will in fact push more women to operate illegally because you have 70000 ICP’s in Ontario and the majority of them are either the main income in the home or are an essential part of the income in the home. They will be forced to make tough decisions to either fill a spot illegally (3 under 2) or not pay her bills. Most of them do not have any other skills. Most of them gave up careers to do this business. Most of them have been doing it for many years and know nothing else. Most of them are good honest women who want to follow the law and are loved by the parents and children that go to their homes. Most of them are women. Women who are now being put in a very difficult situation by their own Gov.

    We estimated that this Bill, once it is implemented fully will:
    eliminate 140000 daycare spaces in Ontario
    raise the cost of affordable home day cares
    create a shortage of infant spaces
    push many legal icps into running illegally to survive
    cause many women to lose their homes if they are caught running illegally with the new fines of $250000
    remove choice from parents
    does nothing for safety and actually with the allowed higher ratios in centers will have the opposite effect

    There is nothing about Bill 10 that Alberta should adopt. In fact if Alberta wants to do things right they will talk to ICP’s in that province and include them in the process so they can remain viable and remain affordable while allowing them some kind of regulation if that is the desire of the people.

    These are women trying to make a living just like all the moms and dads going back to work. They have to be able to support their families too with a livable income, they have to be treated fairly because they matter!

    Bringing ICP’s to the table when changes are being made is smart Gov policy. All sectors should have a voice. Amendments need to be considered carefully over long term.

    Thank you for allowing me to explain the ICP side in all of this. We have been fighting for our rights for over a year. It’s been a long tough, disappointing journey with so far no light at the end of the tunnel. The fight is still going on through the regulation process, through the Ontario Ombudsman and other avenues. Many livelihoods are at stake.

    Please join us at http://www.cicpo.ca/ to find out how you can help support your neighborhood ICP in Ontario.

     
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    1. Faye Holt Faye Holt

      Shelly, thank you so much for sharing this with us. Clearly, the government has not heard your concerns. If this article and conversation around it can help, I am so glad. I will be sure to check out the website you mentioned to support in any way I can.
      Faye

       
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  3. Shelly

    Actually the truth is we ICP’s in Ontario brought every single one of these points to the Min of Education’s attention as well as all the MPP’s in Queen’s Park. She and the rest of the Liberal Majority Gov still voted for the Bill and refused every single Amendment. They heard us but they ignored us. At the end they smirked and laughed and clapped when it passed. The NDP was no better. They supported us up until the final vote and then voted with the Liberals. The PC Gov was the only one who understood what we were saying and stood up for us. The stress and worry we ICP’s now carry is enormous. We also have Universal Child Care looming with the Federal Election which will finish us off, no doubt about it. Mulcair is ignoring our questions of how we will fit in fairly. The child care advocates refuse to hear us or stand with us. It’s quite unbelievable really.

     
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    1. Faye Holt Faye Holt

      I have also been thinking about how the proposed Universal Childcare Program will work with ICP’s. This is absolutely a concern in Alberta as well, as ICPs cannot provide subsidy to parents who qualify, so how will they fit within a framework of Universal Childcare? The ability for ICPs to get an individual license would solve this 100%, would put more money in the government’s pocket, and would ensure that parents continue to have the choice they have, and want!!

       
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  4. Shelly

    I have started a fb page trying to gather all ICP’s across Canada to one place to start talking about advocating for ourselves. We have to connect to do this. So far we have 300 members. Not near enough. You are welcome to join.
    Not much happening on the site yet but I suspect once fed election really kicks into gear it should light up a bit more.
    Maybe your blog will attract some to join as well.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/757051244387214/

     
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  5. Shelly

    This was written by an ICP and I thought it was such a great idea I wanted to share it here. She gave me her permission to do so.

    Currently in Ontario the government spends about $6,000-8,000/staff annually in childcare for Wage Enhancement grants and than they spend $1000’s per CHILD in operational funding grants to centres and agencies and my understanding from reading reports online this does not include the SUBSIDY investment we make to PARENTS to help pay their fees this is just in ‘operational grants’ that allow childcare centres and agencies to stay afloat! Basically we spend BILLIONS into only what was it last count 165,602 licensed spaces that is a LOT of money / space being spent and it only services 20% of the NEED for childcare?

    So on top of that government investment parents are paying than anywhere from $9,000 – 19,500 a CHILD in childcare fees out out of their own pocket across Ontario or the tax payer is paying this per child out of the ‘subsidy’ programs for childcare …. regulated childcare is a COSTLY CHOICE that many either cannot afford to make or do not see the VALUE in making!

    So a ‘universal childcare plan’ such as being proposed where parents regardless of their income would only pay $10 a day per child would mean parents only have to pay $2600 a year per child for childcare which sounds divine when you only look at it from that perspective … which is why it is POPULAR cause people are not THINKING of the big picture! Like the FDK program discussed in this article Universal childcare will come at the cost taxpayers between at least $15,000 ~ 25,000 annually PER CHILD to FUND it behind the scenes and that is a conservative amount like all government programs the cost will rise above the ‘guesstimate’ but even if you just take the ‘fees’ being charged to parent that is a HUGE cost to the taxpayer to fund a program like this to ALL 0-6 year olds … tax revenue we do not have currently but for argument sake lets say we do.

    What we should be asking parents is that if you have a child between 0-6 and the government actually found a way to budget for a UNIVERSAL CHILDCARE program which would YOU prefer … a universal TAX CREDIT of $15,000 annually PER CHILD in your home under the age of 6 to spend as YOU SEE FIT on a childcare model of your choice or the $10 a day government run childcare model a model where you have NO CONTROL OVER who your child is being cared for, a model that has consistently scene rising adult to child ratios and so forth in order for the lack of funds to go far enough and you STILL have to pay additional funds for?

    Seriously if you look at the MATH of the cost of Universal childcare … for a young family with 3 children all under the age of 6 that would be $45,000 that the government would have to invest … now they could either invest in ‘$10 a day universal childcare’ and you would STILL have to spend $7,800 of your yearly salary out of pocket to work outside the home which for many women is still a 1/3 of their before tax income OR we could invest that money directly in FAMILIES and CHOICE … give the allotted money BACK to PARENTS and let them CHOOSE how they want to invest in childcare … do they want to invest in a parent to stay HOME with that money, do they want to both work PART TIME and split childcare or one work full time and one stay home or both work FULL TIME and use the money from the tax credit for their children ‘under 6’ to pay for a extended family member, neighbor or home childcare provider or a large centre option … we should be investing in CHOICE cause if they actually sat down and did the REAL MATH it would be CHEAPER and of GREATER BENEFIT to the NEEDS of FAMILIES in Ontario!

    When we give an industry a MONOPOLY it only serves to drive up the cost to taxpayers and reduces the SERVICE to those using it!

     
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