Item - 2021.EC20.1

Tracking Status

EC20.1 - Review of Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services

Decision Type:
ACTION
Status:
Amended
Wards:
All

City Council Decision

City Council on April 7 and 8, 2021, adopted the following:

 

1.  City Council direct the General Manager, Children's Services to advance the opportunities identified in Attachment 1 to the report (March 10, 2021) from the City Manager which include:

 

a.  examining opportunities to reduce the vacancy rate in Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services centres with consideration to the impact changes may have on enrolment and family and staff well-being;

 

b.  assessing Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services locations on a continuous basis to focus expansion to serve high inequities neighbourhoods where child care is most needed and the community is underserved with a continued focus on providing care for younger children (infants, toddlers, and preschoolers);

 

c.  working with the Executive Director, Social Development, Finance and Administration to consider ways to expand access to Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services indoor and outdoor facilities for use beyond licensed child care and leveraging Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services sites and programs to advance the City's social development objectives and provide additional community benefit in neighbourhoods experiencing inequities;

 

d.  developing an evaluation strategy and using data to monitor and evaluate the impact of Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services in the broader child care system, periodically assessing how well the Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services system is meeting its goals, and using data to inform location and programming decisions to ensure maximum benefit for children, families, and communities;

 

e.  pursuing opportunities to advance the City's equity goals in the delivery of Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services programs, including a leadership role within the child care and early years system in confronting anti-Black racism and advancing reconciliation; and

 

f.  enhancing collaboration with post-secondary institutions to advance research and applied practice to ensure high-quality care across the sector.

 

2.  City Council request the General Manager, Children's Services to report to the Economic and Community Development Committee on a strategy to attract and induce new not-for-profit operators to priority locations which could include the provision and support of facility space and opportunities to create those spaces.

Background Information (Committee)

(March 10, 2021) Report from the City Manager on Review of Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2021/ec/bgrd/backgroundfile-164907.pdf
(March 31, 2021) Attachment 1 - Review of Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services: Their Unique Contribution to Toronto's Equity, Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Goals
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2021/ec/bgrd/backgroundfile-164908.pdf
(March 25, 2021) Presentation from the Deputy City Manager, Community and Social Services on Toronto Early Learning and Child Care (TELCCS) Review
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2021/ec/bgrd/backgroundfile-165136.pdf

Motions (City Council)

1 - Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Stephen Holyday (Amended)

That:

 

1. City Council request the General Manager, Children's Services to produce an annual report on the Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services system in the first quarter of 2022, for submission to the Economic and Community Development Committee, such annual report to include location specific details, which would promote transparency and a basis of comparison with not-for-profit and private operations, and would include information on services and service levels, customer use, revenues, expenses, assets and liabilities.

 

2. City Council request the General Manager, Children's Services to report to the Economic and Community Development Committee on a strategy to attract and induce new not-for-profit operators to priority locations which could include the provision and support of facility space, and opportunities to create those spaces.

 

Part 1 of motion 1 by Councillor Holyday did not carry.

Vote (Amend Item (Additional)) Apr-07-2021 6:08 PM

Result: Lost Majority Required - EC20.1 - Holyday - motion 1 Part 1 only
Total members that voted Yes: 8 Members that voted Yes are Gary Crawford, Michael Ford, Stephen Holyday, Cynthia Lai, Nick Mantas, Denzil Minnan-Wong, James Pasternak, Jaye Robinson
Total members that voted No: 17 Members that voted No are Paul Ainslie, Ana Bailo, Brad Bradford, Shelley Carroll, Mike Colle, Joe Cressy, John Filion, Paula Fletcher, Mike Layton, Josh Matlow, Jennifer McKelvie, Frances Nunziata (Chair), Gord Perks, Anthony Perruzza, Michael Thompson, John Tory, Kristyn Wong-Tam
Total members that were Absent: 1 Members that were absent are Mark Grimes

Vote (Amend Item (Additional)) Apr-07-2021 6:09 PM

Result: Carried Majority Required - EC20.1 - Holyday - motion 1 Part 2 only
Total members that voted Yes: 20 Members that voted Yes are Paul Ainslie, Ana Bailo, Brad Bradford, Gary Crawford, Joe Cressy, John Filion, Michael Ford, Stephen Holyday, Cynthia Lai, Mike Layton, Josh Matlow, Jennifer McKelvie, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Frances Nunziata (Chair), James Pasternak, Anthony Perruzza, Jaye Robinson, Michael Thompson, John Tory, Kristyn Wong-Tam
Total members that voted No: 5 Members that voted No are Shelley Carroll, Mike Colle, Paula Fletcher, Nick Mantas, Gord Perks
Total members that were Absent: 1 Members that were absent are Mark Grimes

Motion to Adopt Item as Amended (Carried)

EC20.1 - Review of Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services

Decision Type:
ACTION
Status:
Adopted
Wards:
All

Committee Recommendations

The Economic and Community Development Committee recommends that:

 

1.  City Council direct the General Manager, Children's Services to advance the opportunities identified in Attachment 1 to the report (March 10, 2021) from the City Manager which include:

 

a.  examining opportunities to reduce the vacancy rate in Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services centres with consideration to the impact changes may have on enrolment and family and staff well-being;

 

b.  assessing Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services locations on a continuous basis to focus expansion to serve high inequities neighbourhoods where child care is most needed and the community is underserved with a continued focus on providing care for younger children (infants, toddlers, and preschoolers);

 

c.  working with the Executive Director, Social Development, Finance and Administration to consider ways to expand access to Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services indoor and outdoor facilities for use beyond licensed child care and leveraging Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services sites and programs to advance the City's social development objectives and provide additional community benefit in neighbourhoods experiencing inequities;

 

d.  developing an evaluation strategy and using data to monitor and evaluate the impact of Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services in the broader child care system, periodically assessing how well the Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services system is meeting its goals, and using data to inform location and programming decisions to ensure maximum benefit for children, families, and communities;

 

e.  pursuing opportunities to advance the City's equity goals in the delivery of Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services programs, including a leadership role within the child care and early years system in confronting anti-Black racism and advancing reconciliation; and

 

f.  enhancing collaboration with post-secondary institutions to advance research and applied practice to ensure high-quality care across the sector.

Decision Advice and Other Information

The Deputy City Manager, Community and Social Services gave a presentation on Toronto Early Learning and Child Care (TELCCS) Review.

Origin

(March 10, 2021) Report from the City Manager

Summary

The purpose of this report is to report back to City Council on the City Manager's analysis of the financial and non-financial benefits of the City's directly-operated child care centres (centres operated by Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services or TELCCS centres). In 2018, City Council directed the City Manager to conduct this analysis upon consideration of the recommendations in the Auditor General's review of Children's Services.

 

It is an important time for City Council to consider the findings of this review. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought critical attention to the importance of accessible, affordable child care to economic recovery, poverty reduction and supporting women's participation in the labour market.

 

To assist with this review, the City Manager engaged a third-party research team consisting of experts from the University of Toronto and George Brown College to provide research and analysis to inform this work. The results of their findings are provided as Attachment 1, Review of Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services: Their Unique Contribution to Toronto's Equity, Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Goals.

 

The researchers' findings demonstrate that TELCCS, which comprises only 3 percent of licensed spaces in Toronto's child care system, plays a unique role in the child care landscape and provides complementary value to the services delivered by non-profit and commercial operators.

 

The researchers found that TELCCS centres provide important supports by:

 

- serving vulnerable families in underserved neighbourhoods, and are located in areas less likely to attract other child care operators;

 

- serving a greater proportion of younger children (i.e. infants and toddlers) who are more expensive to serve, given the mandated child to educator ratios;

 

- employing highly trained staff, who deliver high quality child care;

 

- ensuring a financially efficient model for the service they provide with only marginally higher costs than comparable centres, while contributing high-quality jobs and decent wages to a largely low wage, racialized, female-dominated sector; and

 

- advancing the City's poverty reduction goals and providing quality work in the early years sector.
 

The researchers also identified opportunities for TELCCS to:

 

- address their vacancy rate to create financial savings;


- further focus on addressing service gaps that cannot or are not filled by the non-profit and commercial sectors;

 

- utilize its assets for additional community benefit (such as expanding access to TELCCS indoor and outdoor facilities for use beyond licensed child care);

 

- develop an evaluation strategy and enhance access to and use of data;

 

- partner with the City's Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit (CABR) and Indigenous Affairs Office (IAO) to advance equity objectives; and

 

- enhance collaboration with post-secondary institutions to advance research and applied practice to ensure high-quality care across the sector.

 

The research for this review was conducted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report prepared by the researchers provides a rich set of data and analysis, much of which remains relevant. The pandemic has significantly impacted the child care landscape in Toronto and across the country. TELCCS has played a key role in the City's COVID-19 response as one of the first programs across the country to provide emergency child care in a COVID-19 context. Notably, the rapid collaboration between Children's Services and Toronto Public Health to develop the health and safety protocols to deliver emergency care served as a model for the provision of child care during the pandemic both across the province and other jurisdictions across the country. These protocols have provided the foundation for the reopening of child care centres and point to the leadership role TELCCS (and the City of Toronto) have contributed provincially and nationally.

 

The review findings indicate that TELCCS provides unique financial and non-financial benefits and meets critical gaps in Toronto's early learning and child care system, which underlines the role of public, municipally-delivered child care programs. The City's directly-operated child care centres complement the essential work of community-based child care delivery and helps ensure that high demand infant spaces are available and that low-income and high needs families can access child care. As service system manager for Toronto's child care system, the City continuously monitors where care is required and who can best deliver it. In the past, the City has assumed operations of child care centres when non-profit providers were no longer able to operate that location, such as the cases of Westown, Mount Dennis and Kingston Road child care centres that are now operated by TELCCS. These are examples of where the City steps in to ensure continuity of service for the community. Since 2018, the City has also transferred child care centres when there is a viable operator, such as transferring before and after school programs to the Toronto District School Board in alignment with the Province's schools first approach to providing kindergarten and school-age child care in the schools children attend. This has allowed TELCCS to focus on service delivery to the youngest age groups, including infants who are the costliest to serve and have fewer spaces compared to demand in the system, filling an important gap.

 

The review affirmed the leadership the City provides to the overall child care system through the sharing of best practices, such as most recently through the emergency child care model developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the gaps they fill to serve our most vulnerable families and neighbourhoods, are key to the unique value of TELCCS.

Background Information

(March 10, 2021) Report from the City Manager on Review of Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2021/ec/bgrd/backgroundfile-164907.pdf
(March 31, 2021) Attachment 1 - Review of Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services: Their Unique Contribution to Toronto's Equity, Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Goals
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2021/ec/bgrd/backgroundfile-164908.pdf
(March 25, 2021) Presentation from the Deputy City Manager, Community and Social Services on Toronto Early Learning and Child Care (TELCCS) Review
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2021/ec/bgrd/backgroundfile-165136.pdf

Motions

Motion to Adopt Item moved by Councillor Michael Thompson (Carried)
Source: Toronto City Clerk at www.toronto.ca/council