Letter to Minister Lecce re: COVID-19 Interim Funding and Operating Policies for EarlyON and Child Care - June 1, 2020

June 1, 2020

Hon. Stephen Lecce, Minister
Ministry of Education
5th Floor, 438 University Avenue
Toronto ON  M7A 2A5

SENT VIA E-MAIL: minister.edu@ontario.ca

Dear Minister: 

RE: COVID-19 Interim Funding and Operating Policies for EarlyON and Child Care

At it’s regular meeting held Thursday May 28, 2020, the Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board passed Resolution #20-47 which fully endorses the NOSDA letter sent to your attention on May 26, 2020. 

On March 21, 2020 District Social Service Administration Boards and Consolidated Municipal Service Managers received a memo indicating how Provincial monies were to be allocated. 

In the letter, it stated that your Ministry would: 

“The ministry will continue to fund CMSMs and DSSABs at the funding levels confirmed in the October 25, 2019 allocations memo and is directing CMSMs and DSSABs to continue to flow funding to child care centres and agencies.” 

“The ministry does not intend to recover funding for early years and child care services as a result of measures implemented as part of COVID-19 preparedness, including complying with closure orders and will work with you on how this funding is considered in our child care recovery plan” and that 

“The ministry continues to depend on the authority and discretion that service system managers hold in order to make decisions that best support the early years and child care sector in their communities.  Please continue to let us know how we can support your efforts during this challenging time”.

In a memo dated May 11, your Ministry communicated that it will not allow Service System Managers to use any provincial funding to cover any shortfall that is not covered by the federal wage subsidy program retroactively to March 15, 2020.  Yet as noted above, the March 21,2020 memo directed Service System Managers to continue to flow funding to childcare centres and agencies. 

We agreed whole-heartedly that the funding approach used by your Ministry during the closure period must be to support financial sustainability of the Early Years and childcare sectors from the beginning of the pandemic. We also believe that a stable and accessible child care system will be critical to Ontario’s recovery following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Northern Ontario municipalities need to know that Federal and Provincial monies provided during this difficult time will make this goal attainable and not pose an undue hardship on our communities. Not permitting Service System Managers to utilize any provincial funding retroactively to March 15, 2020 poses significant risk to both the municipalities that contribute to the cost sharing of childcare centres, Early Years, and the operators themselves.

Your Ministry depends on Service System Managers and our knowledge of the needs of our communities to make decisions that best support the early years and child care sector in our service areas. We depend on you and your government to be fair, equitable and transparent with funding and mindful of communications protocols with outside organizations that depend on Service Managers for funding.

The Manitoulin-Sudbury DSB asks that your Ministry rescind the decision communicated in the May 11, 2020 memo and allow the use of provincial funding during the retroactive period. 


Les Gamble
Chair, Manitoulin-Sudbury DSB




Member Municipalities