On May 5, 2010 Jim Grieve, Assistant Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Education issued another memo , EL6, to Directors of Education http://cal2.edu.gov.on.ca/may2010/2010EL6_Bill242.pdf to explain some of the implications of recently passed Bill 242, "The Full Day Early Learning Statute LawAmendment Act, 2010" http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&Intranet=&BillID=2269.While the memo does not have the force of regulations or guidelines, it again provides an interesting perspective on where we might be headed. We urge you to read the original. Points we think may be of particular interest to the community based childcare community are as follows:
Ministry of Education Comments
Interpretation and Possible Implications
Regulations are expected soon for:
These regulations will likely shape the way childcare in the extended day during instructional days will be offered by Boards over the next few years. We will let you know when the regulations are finalized and made public.
Section 259 of the Education Act confirms that school boards can contract with third-party operators to provide before and after care to six to 12 year olds during both instructional and non-instructional days.
This will allow childcare providers to continue to provide care to this age group provided the boards of education do not want to offer it themselves.
Section 259 of the Education Act confirms that school boards can contract with third-party operators to provide before and after care to four- and five-year olds outside of regular instructional school days. For a brief transition period boards will be permitted to contract with third party operators to provide before and after care to four- and five-year olds during instructional days.
This will allow childcare providers to continue to provide care to this age group provided the boards of education do not want to offer it themselves. It is not clear how a third party would provide this type of care and remain financially viable and maintain continuity of staff.
The time period allowed for transitioning out third-party care in schools for four- and five-year olds will be specified in the not-yet-released regulations.
Knowing the time period will be critical in making decisions for those centres affected by phase one of the ELP designation.
Bill 242 specifies that extended day programs will be led by RECEs. As importantly, principals may delegate the operation of the extended day program to other board approved persons.
This would appear to give boards author-ization to allow Principals to hire staff in existing centres to provide care in board facilities as they do now. Same staff, same facilities, different employer. This would presumably be ideal for the children.
Different boards are allowed to jointly operate extended day programs.
We do not understand how this allowance fits with the philosophy of providing an integrated and seamless day. Care provided by third party providers in the same school as the children attend for JK and K would presumably offer a more integrated and seamless experience than switching buildings up to twice a day.
Fee setting regulations have not yet been established.
This is cutting timing very close for boards of education wanting to plan for the financial aspects of providing full day early learning in instructional days.
Boards can contract with municipalities and others to administer subsidy programs.
There is no indication that subsidy funding will increase. It is unclear how boards will deal with situations where parents eligible for subsidy and needing care are on wait lists because of quota limits. Children in the same JK or K class may not have equal access to extended care in instructional days.
The Ontario government has announced stabilization funding to ease the impact of ELP introductions (estimated at $786,000 for the entire City of Toronto in 2010) and capital funding to help retrofit existing centres to serve younger children ($184,800 is Toronto's 2010 share).
Both stabilization and capital funding allocated appear woefully inadequate for the 949 centres serving 53,414 families in the City of Toronto (statistics from the Office of the Mayor, May 6, 2010)
Effective April 27, 2010 responsibility for childcare was transferred to the Ministry of Education from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.
We will comment on this is a future posting.