Bill 10 (formerly known as Bill C143) and Why it Matters To You

By Salina Sunderland

Your first question is probably “What is Bill 10?” perhaps followed by “Ugh…politics…not interested!” But before you skip by this post in favour of something more exciting and glamorous, let me fill you in on why you should be very concerned with this bill as a parent of young children.

daycare bill 10

Bill 10, the Childcare Modernization Act, is a bill that has been introduced by the Minister of Education, Liz Sandals, in the name of making your child’s daycare safer and better whether you have your child in a daycare centre, in an agency affiliated home daycare, or a private home daycare. Here are some highlights as pertain to private home daycare (there are changes for daycare centres and agency home daycares as well that I won’t go into here):

1) Currently, a private home daycare provider may have 5 daycare children at any one time in addition to her own children of any ages.
Bill 10 would force the provider to count her own children under the age of 6 in her total of 5 kids, even though her children are most likely in school full-time at the age of 4.
2) Currently there are no age ratio restrictions for private caregivers and it is left to a daycare providers own discretion as to which ages to accept into her/his daycare depending on the caregivers own abilities, strengths, and programming. Bill 10 would make it so that private home daycares would be allowed no more than 2 kids under the age of 2.

Now, you might be saying “This is great! My kids will be safer!” However, considering that 80% of children in Ontario are cared for in unlicensed home daycares, this bill has the potential to severely disrupt childcare availability and rates. As a private home daycare provider, I receive many enquiries for care every month. 99% of those enquiries are for babies around the 12 month mark when their moms or dads return to work. Considering children now start school full-time at 3.5-4 years of age, we are left with children aged 1-3 to care for. Many of us actually prefer having a group of little ones close in age as they grow and learn together and it is much easier to cater to their needs when they are all in a similar stage.

If this bill is put into law, many home daycare providers will be forced to close as they will not be able to survive on the 2-3 kids they will be allowed to care (having to count their own children as well as find kids to fit the ratios). Those that stay in business will almost certainly raise their rates significantly, especially for the under 2 spaces. All of this adds up to less spaces available and higher costs for parents.

Now, if all of this was really in the cause of keeping children safer, I would say “It’s worth it! Let’s all suck it up and do this for the kids!” However, the problem is that the daycares that are currently running illegally (with too many kids) are not following the current laws; they are not going to suddenly decide to follow the new law. These are the daycares in which children are in danger and this law will do nothing to stop them. If the Ministry of Education would do their job and follow up on complaints, inspect daycares with complaints against them, and shut down the unsafe ones, we would all be better off.

Bill 10 is now in second reading in the Ontario Legislature. Once it passes through second reading it will go to Committee, where we hope that some amendments will be made. After it is discussed in Committee, it will be passed into law. The Liberal party has said that they would like to have it passed before Christmas.

You can find out more at this Facebook Page: Ontario Families and Home Childcare Providers Against Bill 143
Or: Coalition of Independent Childcare Providers of Ontario

If you are concerned, please write to Education Minister Liz Sandals (lsandals.mpp@liberal.ola.org) as well as your local MPs (follow this link to find them.) Act now before it’s too late; let the government know how this bill will affect you!

CBC’s Will Stroet: CD Review and Giveaway!

Many offers land in my inbox here at Kids in the Capital. My favourite ones are those that ask me to review a book or a CD. Music is one of my passions, and I’ve been sure to introduce a wide range of music to my children. Unfortunately, some children’s music is not only terrible, but insufferable!

That’s why I’m so happy to be reviewing Will Stroet’s new CD “Just Imagine.” It’s a breath of fresh air for parents who can’t take another rendition of “Do Your Ears Hang Low.”

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You may recognize Will’s name from Will’s Jams, which air on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on Kids CBC. The songs are catchy and educational, covering a wide range of topics (eating your veggies, getting exercise, and creativity).

Will Stroet is embarking on a cross-Ontario tour this Fall, and you’ll have a chance to win tickets to see him play at the Bronson Centre on November 23rd. Make sure to follow our Facebook page for details of the contest!

When I received the CD in the mail, I immediately popped it in our player and my girls started dancing around the room. The first track – Chuggada Choo – is reminiscent of Johnny Cash, and super catchy! Same goes for the Brazilian “Mama Samba,” and I found myself humming “My mama loves to dance, she’s gonna do the mama samba” for the rest of the day. The girls, of course, loved to see me attempt the Samba :)

Will and his Backstreet Band (Elliot Langford and Kevin Romain) show their musical chops with  a wide range of influences – bluegrass, blues, folk, rock and so much more. Each song is very different, so you don’t run the risk of getting totally and utterly bored as a parent listening to this CD.

And it’s clear that Will is a devoted father of his own two girls (Ella, 4 and June, 4 months), as evident in the final track on the CD – Daddy’s Lullaby. Very sweet!

If you’re looking for some new music to pop in the CD player while driving your car, then I would definitely suggest purchasing Just Imagine. You can buy Will’s CDs from his website and also give him a follow on his Facebook page.

And if you’re looking for a fun family outing, don’t forget he’s playing at the Bronson Centre on November 23rd.

Disclosure: Kids in the Capital was compensated for this review, but all opinions are my own.

Halloween and Day of the Dead

Is it a coincidence that the pagan-based Halloween falls around the time of Mexico’s holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)? History says probably. Our Halloween is likely more closely connected to the Christian feast All Hallow’s Eve, and to pagan traditions from Celtic-speaking countries.

All Hallow's Eve

That Halloween has become a mainly commercial celebration (a time for children to gorge on treats full of refined sugar and artificial flavours/colours) is rather sad. I’m all for chocolate and candy (hey, I’ve already broken into our box of mini chocolate bars!), but I’m increasingly interested in ways that we can bring back a more traditional meaning to the day.

Westerners are notoriously fearful of death. Death is always tragic and heartbreaking. We feel at a loss when comforting friends and family – what’s the right thing to say? The fact that we’re no longer flocking to organized religion for guidance means that many of us feel spiritually deprived or unsure of our beliefs.

This issue hit me smack in the nose the other night when my daughter suddenly began discussing death (why do these conversations always happen right before bedtime?) She began getting very scared, and wondered what she would do if Mommy and Daddy died. I tried to answer her questions and calm her fears, but I felt inadequate.

Google “how to talk to your kids about death” and you’ll come up with thousands of articles. Most of the advice is good – state facts as simply as possible, and don’t make stuff up (e.g. “Grandma has gone to sleep.”) But rarely do I find articles that put a positive spin on death. On Dia de los Muertos, you might see skulls and skeletons, but people are not scared. In fact, they’re having fun! They dress in costumes, share food, create representations of skulls and skeletons, and give offerings to their departed loved ones.

I’m sure Mexicans who celebrate Dia de los Muertos still feel sad when family members or friends die. But instead of the usual hush-hush and gloom that surrounds the death, there is instead a celebration of life – and a strong belief that a loved one is in a good place.

So here are a few ideas on how to integrate death and dying into your Halloween celebrations – in a way that kids will understand and enjoy!

  • Check out Pinterest for some great Dia De Los Muertos craft ideas
  • Take your kids to see the movie The Book of Life – set on the Day of the Dead, I’m sure the film will provide a jumping off point for discussions about death
  • If you’re a parent interested in having an open and honest discussion about death, join the Death Cafe Ottawa! (next cafe night is November 5th)
  • If your kids are old enough, pay a visit to the grave or memorial of a loved one. Bring bunches of colourful flowers, and ask your kids to make an offering (see the craft ideas above)
  • Before heading out trick or treating on Halloween, prepare a yummy feast (doesn’t have to be Mexican food!) Take a moment for each person to say what they cherish about their life – death is also about life after all!

Do you celebrate Dia de las Muertos?