As city councillor, Olivia Chow was a strong advocate for children, and now child care is a key plank of her mayoral platform. Her child-care policy statement released at the end of September promises an investment of $15 million over four years to create 3,000 new child-care spaces, half of which would be subsidized. Chow also wants to add 1,200 children and 40 neighbourhoods to existing low- or no-fee after-school recreation programs aimed at working families (as councillor, Chow helped create these programs).
Lifting some lingo from the conservative lexicon, Chow also says she would improve programs for kids by “Mak[ing] the city a better, more comprehensive manager.” As examples of the efficiencies she’d look to add, Chow points to “bulk-buying for child-care centres to lower costs; coordinat[ing] supply staff management to lower overhead; and creat[ing] centralized child-care waiting lists.”
Chow also says she would partner with organizations such as the YMCA and Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada to help deliver programs to even more kids.
If Doug Ford has any interest in children being cared for, he hasn’t expressed it publicly. His actions as a city councillor indicate it’s not a priority for him—he voted against a number of budget items intended to benefit kids. Earlier this year he made insensitive remarks about autistic youths while campaigning to have a home for autistic teens moved out of an Etobicoke neighbourhood.
John Tory has said little about child care during the campaign. Responding to an item in the Toronto Star‘s Big Ideas series, Tory indicated that he would support the use of City funds to “support Toronto families,” but strongly implied that he would expect the provincial and federal governments to do most of the heavy lifting.