Closing Durham College Child Care Labs helps no one, say Whitby-Oshawa Greens

OSHAWA ON, June 22nd, 2009 – Whitby-Oshawa Green Party CEO Rebecca Harrison says the Party is appalled by the recently announced decision by Durham College to close Childhood Education Child Care Labs at its facility in Oshawa, Ontario. This move will eliminate 73 high quality child care spaces in Durham used by students and faculty from the nearby institutions as well as residents of the surrounding area.

“This facility not only provides high quality learning for the future leaders of our community but high quality practical education to ECE professionals, whose need will only grow,” said Harrison, a poverty elimination advocate.

“Although this decision may stand to save money for Durham College it is a decision that we the taxpayers in the community will end up paying for in the future,” she said. “Social infrastructure, health care and justice costs increase in the absence of positive poverty reduction measures like high quality ECE. Sadly the biggest debt caused by this decision will be felt by children.”

The proposed closure of the ECE Child Care labs at Durham College will bring more pain to an area already hard hit by this recession. With record job losses, many citizens are currently struggling to contend with a weak EI system while trying to maintain their finances and find work. Unfortunately for many parents who are forced to remove their child from a child care program due to job loss, returning to work means being faced with the burden of finding suitable care and starting the process from the beginning.

The announcement from the College comes on the heels of a report issued by Dr. Charles Pascal, Special Advisor on Early Learning to Premier Dalton McGuinty. Pascal advocates for a variety of programs including high quality ECE that must be a priority for any government that is devoted to “putting children first”.

Green Party of Ontario Deputy Leader Judy Smith-Torrie is also a vocal proponent of increasing high quality ECE in Ontario.

“We commend Dr. Pascal on his report on early learning and urge the Government to promptly implement his recommendations,” said Smith-Torrie.

The Green Party of Ontario supports universal, not-for-profit child care and full-day learning programs that stimulate creativity and growth, and help to alleviate poverty. The Party also applauds the extended parental leave proposed in the report, and supports funding to parents who choose to raise children at home during the early years.

“The report’s goals are strong yet achievable, and this Government will be judged by how quickly and effectively it acts to realize the future this report envisions,” said Smith-Torrie.

The Green Party of Ontario is committed to building a sustainable future that nourishes our families, communities and economy; visit


Rebecca Harrison

Additional facts
According to the 2006 Census there are 70,085 children living in Durham Region under the age of 10. Durham currently has only 176 licensed childcare sites, with a total capacity to serve 9999 children.

Many families are finding the cost of adequate child care too much to bear. As of May, Durham Region had 2445 children on a waiting list for subsidized childcare placements. That is up significantly from 1950 just last Fall. Currently there are 2281 subsidised children placed in daycare, an increase of only 1 spot since late 2008. With this closure proposed for the end of the summer that number will drop.

The proposed closure will also discontinue the unique on-campus practical learning component offered by the Durham College ECE Program. The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities clearly states that any ECE program must include a practical component. This closure will mean that ECE students attending Durham College will now need to pursue placements with off campus childcare facilities in the surrounding area.