Thursday, July 5, 2012
Candy tax to fund Toronto daycare dismissed
Mayor Rob Ford’s task force on child care briefly considered a candy tax on kids to fund day care.
After chewing it over, they spit it out in favour of seven more traditional recommendations and Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti’s controversial suggestion to have the province take over the city’s child care system by 2018.
“We have to stop hiding our heads in the sand, we can’t afford it anymore,” Mammoliti, the task force chairman, told reporters after delivering the report to the mayor’s office. “Unless the province agrees with these seven recommendations and does it in a hurry, we have no choice but to get out of the business.”
The task force did recommend increasing development charges to help fund new child care spaces. Mammoliti said he favours redirecting the charges towards child care rather than increasing them outright.
Although the task force considered it, the report didn’t recommend a candy tax or even a lottery to fund child care.
“It just goes to show you that the providers are somewhat grasping at ways of finding money to be able to take care of children in this city,” Mammoliti said.
But the Ward 7, York West councillor stressed the candy tax debate didn’t take up much of the task force’s time.
“It was blown out of the water as soon as it became light, believe it or not some people were actually thinking about taxing children on candy,” Mammoliti said.
Councillor Janet Davis said having the province and school boards take over child care was “too big a shake up to be reasonable.”
“Right now what we need in child care is stability, additional funding and (to) be able to implement the plan we have in Toronto for expanding and supporting child care,” Davis said.
Councillor Gord Perks dismissed Mammoliti’s child care recommendation.
“The only person in Toronto or Ontario who takes what Giorgio Mammoliti says about day care seriously is Giorgio Mammoliti,” Perks said.
Ontario Education Minister Laurel Broten said Thursday that she would like to know if Mammoliti’s position was shared by city council as a whole. While the province is committed to investing in child care, it relies on its municipal partners to deliver the service, she said.
“Childcare in this province has been delivered in partnership for many years,” Broten said.
CUPE Local 79 president Tim Maguire - who represents more than 1,200 city child care workers - said they’ll look at the recommendations from the task force and from the consultant currently reviewing the city’s child care system.
“I think at this point in time families, parents in Toronto need assurances that the high quality child care they are receiving now are still going to be there not destabilizing suggestions,” Maguire said.
“Toronto needs to remain in the child care work.”