Community

Stouffville gets new modular daycare facility to help address rising childcare needs

By Gene Pereira, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Childcare wait lists have rapidly grown since Ontario signed on to the federal government’s national $10-a-day program.

The demand for the cheaper daycare spaces has far exceeded the addition of new spaces and filling the gap has proven a challenging task for many municipalities and cities across the province.

Stouffville Town Council has taken a big step in an effort to be proactive with those concerns when it recently announced a “unanimous approval” to receive a modular daycare facility from a development project in Mississauga.

The five-year-old facility is expected to be relocated to Stouffville in the coming months and will help deal with the increasing demand in the town by adding 82 new daycares spots.

The home for the new daycare building will be on the property of the Stouffville Clippers Sports Complex, located on Weldon Road. The setup of the new facility is expected to start this summer.

“This daycare facility acquisition offers significant benefits to our community,” said Mayor Iain Lovatt. “All of council is excited about this opportunity, which not only addresses our urgent need for more childcare options but also promises to enhance our town’s financial health through sustained revenue.”

The daycare facility will be managed by a third-party daycare provider and serviced by the Town of Stouffville.

A Request for Proposal (RFP) will be issued soon to select the “ideal” daycare operator in an effort to ensure quality childcare service, said the Town.

“The initiative is part of Stouffville’s ongoing commitment to enhance the quality of life for our residents,” added the Town media release. “The new daycare facility will provide high-quality care and early childhood education, helping to meet the growing demand for childcare in the area.”

As for plans to add similar modular daycare facilities in the future to help with the growing demand, there are currently none.

“The Town will always entertain opportunities as they arise, however we do not have any current plans for more,” said Glenn Jackson, manager of Corporate Communications.

Several municipalities in the province find themselves with central waiting lists for open daycare spots.

In the Region of Waterloo, since the announcement of the $10-a-day program, there has been a 115 percent increase in the number of kids on the waiting list. Over 9,200 kids are now waiting.

Niagara Region has seen a 76 percent rise in its waiting list, while Ottawa’s waiting list has increased more than 41 percent.

Specific numbers for wait lists in York Region were unavailable before press time.

Another concern for the federal government is the shortage of early childhood educators to work in these daycare facilities.

With Ontario looking to add some 86,000 new spaces by 2026, the federal government has warned that the province could be short by over 8,500 early childhood educators

In an effort to add more daycare workers, Ontario Education Minister Stephen Leece, in an announcement made late in 2023, announced a wage increase for Early Childhood Educators that would increase starting salaries from among the lowest across the country to the highest.

 

Photo: Stouffville will receive a modular daycare facility from a development project in Mississauga.

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