A quick response from parents, the Brampton-Mississauga and District Labour Council, the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care (OCBCC), the OFL, the CLC, affiliates and scores of community allies put the brakes on a rushed vote by Peel Region Council to close 12 public child care centres.
In late January, parents in Peel Region learned that Council was considering a report recommending the closure of all of the region’s child care centres that was prepared by KPMG – the same group that advised the City of Toronto on sweeping service cuts. Despite media attention, the report was kept secret until January 24, two days before the Council meeting and the same that day parents held a public meeting to call out councillors for failing to consult them before considering such a drastic decision.
At the Council meeting, over 200 parents and supporters joined 59 deputants who told tearful personal stories about their child care needs and called on the Council to delay their vote to allow for public consultation.
While the closures would have stranded 853 children in the region, among the most disadvantaged would have been the parents of children with special needs, who currently benefit from targeted programs run by the Region.
OFL Secretary-Treasurer Nancy Hutchison, herself a Peel Region resident, was one of the passionate speakers who presented a deputation to the Peel Region Council and swayed the vote.