Thunder Bay

Child care registrations drop at Thunder Bay centres

Thunder Bay city council gets an update tonight on some crucial matters involving municipal child care centres.
Grace Remus Child Care Centre is one of four daycares operated by the city. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

Thunder Bay city council gets an update tonight on some crucial matters involving municipal child care centres.

City staff report the number of children using daycare is dropping, along with funding for the daycares.

Maryann Kleynendorst, the supervisor of community programs, said after the report is tabled, council can “explore options to react to these changes and to minimize as much as possible the impact.”

She said full-day kindergarten and more child care options in Thunder Bay are having an impact.

"What's happened is since 2008, the licensed capacity in the city has increased by about 33 per cent,” she said.

“In 2008 there [were] about 1,850 spaces, and currently there's about 2,500 spaces. There [are] also outside of the city 16 other providers that operate over 30 centres."

The estimated total cost to run the city’s child care centres in 2014 is $774,100, based on the assumption that the district social services board funding stays the same. The cost was at $476,000 in 2013.

Kleynendorst said another 25 per cent increase between 2014 and 2015 is expected.

"Basically, our net costs are increasing. That's the basic impact of these changes, is that net costs have increased significantly,” she said.

The Ministry of Education, which administers funding through the district social services board, has also cut its childcare funding by a quarter, said Kleynendorst.

To get updates from the city council meeting Monday night, follow Jeff Walters' tweets at @JeffWaltersCBC.

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