Rickford announces $4M for child care

Sam Odrowski

Two of the district’s elementary schools are getting a total of $4 million in provincial funds to build attached child care centres.

Local MPP Greg Rickford visited Fort Frances on Friday to announce a $1.2 million retrofit project at Robert Moore that will create three child care rooms and 49 new spots for children.

Donald Young School in Emo has also received $2.8 million to move forward with its own three-room child care addition that will create another 49 spaces, for the west end of the district.

“I believe today’s announcements will make a big difference for the hardworking families in Emo and in Fort Frances,” Rickford lauded.

“The new addition at Donald Young Public School in Emo and the retrofit here at Robert Moore School means that families will have greater convenience and more options when thinking about how they manage their family and family time.”

The Ontario government has pledged up to $1 billion over the next 10 years to create up to 30,000 new child care spaces across the province, which includes 10,000 new spaces in new school buildings.

By investing in local schools and child care, Rickford claimed his government is “protecting what matters most” to families and their children.

“We know that families depend on high quality child care and they know and we know they can get it right here and down in Emo at Donald Young Public School,” he noted.

“I’ve talked with the boards, I’ve talked to different community members and this capacity was needed and now they got it.”

Rainy River District School Board (RRDSB) chair Raymond Roy said he’s excited about the increase in child care spaces for district residents.

“The benefits of these young learners being under the same roof as older students and often their siblings is far reaching,” he remarked.

“Not only does it support families within our communities but it also establishes a foundation for early learning.

“Child care is often the first introduction to a school environment for these youngsters and can help smooth the transition to kindergarten,” Roy added.

In addition to the new child care spaces, the province’s CARE tax credit was introduced in the province’s 2019 budget and will provide some families with up to 75 percent back on their eligible childcare expenses.

Families can receive up to $6,000 per child under seven, up to $3,750 per child between seven and 16, as well as a maximum of $8,250 per child with a severe disability.

“Together with programs like the CARE tax credit, these new spaces will help us deliver what’s at the core of our plan for childcare in Ontario-more choices for families,” Rickford noted.

“It is entirely consistent with the government’s commitment to modernizing Ontario’s education system, to better meet the needs of students, parents, and families as a whole.”

The RRDSB anticipates, at earliest, the Robert Moore School day care project will be ready by late-spring or early summer of next year, while the Donald Young School project could be ready by the winter of 2020-21.

Although, the open dates will be subject to tenders on budget and contractor availability, which has the potential to cause slight delays for the project, as with any construction.