By Gord Bowes, News staff
The province doesn’t need to punish all unlicenced daycares because of a few bad operators, says a central Mountain businesswoman.
Proposed legislation would force upstanding operators out of business, says Melanie Tomlinson.
Earlier this month, the provincial Liberal government unveiled their plans for the Child Care Modernization Act, which would limit the number of children a home daycare operator can look after.
The move is in response to a number of deaths in unlicenced daycare operations in recent years, including three in the last six months. One involved a home where up to 29 children were being cared for.
Tomlinson, a registered early childhood educator, said she cares for four toddlers right now, but the new law would limit her to two. While it would allow her to care for more older children, they don’t comprise much of the business, she says.
“The good providers are going to shut down because they’re not going to be able to make a decent wage with only two kids in care,” she says. “It’s going to be hard to find 3- and 4-year-olds that need daycare. And now with full-day kingergarten, once they are four they go to school.”
The current law has teeth, says Tomlinson, but government inaction led to the deaths in at least one case.
“There were numerous complaints reported to the ministry … and nothing was followed up on.”
The new legislation is a step in the right direction to ensuring operations are safe and monitored, says Hamilton Mountain MPP Monique Taylor.
Unlicenced operators can still make money under the tougher rules, says Taylor, the NDP’s child and youth services critic.
“In the unlicenced world, it was running rogue … that’s how we ended up with daycares that had 27 kids-plus,” she says.
“People can still make a good living as a licenced facility and then we have rules and regulations in place to make sure our children are safe.”