Statement By Education Minister On Ombudsman's Report
Liz Sandals, Minister of Education, issued the following statement in response to the Ombudsman's report on unlicensed child care:
"I would like to thank the Office of the Ombudsman for their comprehensive review into how the Ministry of Education responds to complaints about unlicensed child care providers.
In July of last year, I learned of the gaps in oversight in the ministry's process for addressing unlicensed child care complaints. I said they were unacceptable at the time and that is why we took immediate action.
I welcome the Ombudsman's recommendations regarding the unlicensed child care sector and how we can improve our system.
I am pleased to confirm that over 95 of the report's 113 recommendations are already being addressed and that work is underway, or planned, for the Ombudsman's remaining recommendations.
For example, our government has already taken a number of steps to modernize Ontario's child care system. We have introduced legislation that would, if passed, repeal the Day Nurseries Act of 1946 and replace it with legislation more suitable to overseeing our child care and early years system in 2014. This proposed legislation, Bill 10, would directly address over 35 of the Ombudsman's recommendations.
The ministry has also delivered on its prior commitment to create an online searchable registry where parents can verify if an unlicensed child care provider has previously been found to have violated the Day Nurseries Act. Parents can also call a toll-free number for information about such violations and to report complaints about unlicensed child care providers. The ministry has also established a dedicated enforcement unit to respond to and follow up on complaints about unlicensed child care providers. This dedicated enforcement unit coupled with internal policy changes address approximately 60 recommendations in the Ombudsman's report.
The well-being of our children is of utmost importance and I want to assure the people of Ontario that our government will do everything in our power to keep our children safe. Ensuring families have access to safe, modern child care is part of the Ontario government's plan to invest in people and give children the best possible start."