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Ford government putting children at risk

Child at rally

Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says the Ford government is putting young lives at serious risk by reducing adult supervision in unlicensed and home daycares across the province.

“Ford and his cronies are treating toddlers like red tape, when the safety of these children should be their top priority,” said Thomas. “Convenience shouldn’t come at the expense of their well-being. Wherever too much red tape is cut, yellow tape isn’t far behind.”

The Ford government didn’t consult parents and dumped the proposed legislation right before it shut down the Ontario legislature for two months to avoid scrutiny, he added. The Conservative changes would allow a home or unlicensed child-care provider to care for up to three children under the age of two, rather than two children. A home child-care provider with two caregivers could take six children under the age of two, rather than the current maximum of four.

The current regulations were brought in following a number of heartbreaking tragedies, such as two-year-old Eva Ravikovich, who died in 2013 after being left in an SUV for hours on a hot summer day. The owner of the unlicensed daycare in Vaughan – who was taking care of 35 children, far more than the provincial limit – pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death.

“No parent should have to go through something like that – it’s absolutely horrifying,” said OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “It’s outrageous that this government thinks it’s OK to relax rules that protect our youngest in the name of being ‘open for business.’”

Parents should be very concerned about these irresponsible changes, which make no mention of increasing the number of inspectors to ensure kids in daycare are safe, he added.

It’s yet another example of how the Ford government is putting business interests ahead of the safety of children and communities, Almeida said. People are already worried about the Premier’s reckless cannabis scheme that will allow private retailers to set up shop just 150 metres away from schools.

“This is really an attack on the child-care sector,” Almeida said. “If they want to make it easier for parents to find child-care, Ford should come up with a plan for affordable public daycare in Ontario.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931