GP associates get the attention of the Legislature and the City
Petition by Nadine Blum and Kelly Doctor seeks to ban non-refundable daycare wait list fees and ensure families are treated fairly.
When Nadine Blum was looking for a daycare spot for her son, she was repeatedly asked by various daycare centres to pay a non-refundable wait list fee, ranging from $20 to $150. She didn’t think this was right, as she explained to the Toronto Star:
“Child care should be a public good and not just another commodity,” Blum said. “It should not be operating on a supply-and-demand basis. These fees are just another example of how messed up our system is.”
After she returned to work, Nadine and her colleague, Kelly Doctor, decided to start a petition calling on the government to ban non-refundable daycare wait list fees in Ontario. Later this month, Nadine’s MPP, Arthur Potts, will present their petition to the legislature.
Nadine also talked about the campaign on Metro Morning. Kelly will talk about the issue on Radio Canada (AM 680) at 4:45 p.m. today.
If you would like to sign the petition, you can download a copy here. Please note: The legislature will only accept petitions with original signatures. You can mail or deliver a signed version of the petition to Goldblatt Partners, 1100-20 Dundas St. West, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2G8.
Update – April 1st:
That was fast. Ontario’s Minister of Education told the Toronto Star that the province is prepared to act on daycare wait list fees. Liz Sandals says that the government will look into regulating or prohibiting wait list fees. Kelly says the practice should be eliminated:
“We’re pleased the minister is prepared to act,” said Doctor. “But we don’t want to see any wait list fees. Even charging a modest amount in combination with the scarcity of spots and the necessity to go on multiple wait lists, still results in an undue burden on parents.”
Nadine and Kelly also hope the government will address the issue of wait list transparency and how wait lists are administered.
“We hope this will also prompt the government to look at the underlying problems with our childcare system that have allowed these kinds of unfair fees to flourish,” said Blum. “We have to start approaching daycare as a public good and not a market commodity.”
MPP Arthur Potts will still be presenting the petition to the Legislature later this month.
Update – April 11th:
Inside Toronto has posted a story by the Beach/East York Mirror on the presentation of the petition to the provincial Legislature. The MPP in Nadine’s riding, Arthur Potts, introduced the document in the House on Monday, April 11th.
Potts explains that the purpose of the petition is to get people thinking and talking about the issue. Kelly and Nadine are hopeful that legislative change will follow:
“Until we see a change in the law, it won’t change the practice,” [Kelly Doctor] said Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s about raising awareness, getting the conversation about daycare accessibility started.”
Doctor went on to say that this issue is a “symptom of a bigger problem” where daycare providers are making parents compete for spaces instead of being a public good.
The second part of the petition, which has not received as much media attention, is to ensure that all families on daycare wait lists are treated fairly and that there is no queue jumping:
Both women, who are also lawyers at Goldblatt Partners LLP, also want policies put in place across Ontario to ensure families waiting for a daycare space for their child are being treated fairly.
“That’s the second part of our petition,” Doctor said.
“People are skipping the queue. It’s not a first-come, first-serve system.”
On April 13th, Kelly and one of our articling students, Clifford McCarten, appeared before the City of Toronto’s Community Development and Recreation Committee to make submissions about the need for change to the daycare system.
You can see their presentation below, starting at 2:24:00 or go directly to their presentation at this You Tube link.