Due to provincial funding cuts, the City of Peterborough plans to get out of the business of directly operating child care spaces by June 2020.
The city currently directly operates 88 spaces at Pearson Day Care Centre (201 McDonnel St., Peterborough) and Peterborough Childcare Centre (127 Aylmer St. S., Peterborough) along with 209 before and after school program spaces at Edmison Heights and Westmount public schools.
The proposed closure of the two directly operated child care centres and the school programs would eliminate 30 city staff positions as well as some additional on-call staff positions, according to a media release from the city issued on Thursday (September 5).
“Given the substantial budget pressures expected in 2020 and the province’s changes to funding for children’s services starting in 2020, we feel it’s necessary to look at restructuring how we administer children’s services to maximize the number of child care spaces while minimizing the impact on taxpayers,” says city CAO Sandra Clancy.
The city, which is also the administrator of children’s services for Peterborough County, estimates provincial funding for its operation of children’s services will be reduced by $425,000 in 2020, with further funding changes expected as the province phases in reductions over three years. The Ontario government has said it expects municipalities to find efficiencies to make up for the funding reductions.
As well as directly operating child care spaces, the city supports 3,745 licensed child care spaces, most operated by community-based child care providers.
The city says it would be “reinvesting” an unspecified portion of the money saved by closing its direct child care operations, to support fee subsidies and operating grants into community-based child care programs. The city also says it expects the total number of child care spaces in the community will ultimately remain the same or be increased.
Under the city’s proposed restructuring of children’s services, families affected by the closure of directly operated child care programs are asked to use the centralized Child Care Registry and Waitlist Site at www.onehsn.com/peterborough to help find alternative childcare.
City staff would also work with families to assist in the relocation of their children to other child care programs.
Peterborough City Council will consider the proposed plan at its general committee meeting at City Hall on Monday, September 9th. While there are no public delegations at the general committee meeting, residents would be able to speak on the issue at the regular council meeting on Monday, September 23rd.