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Ottawa daycare opens 73 new affordable spots in Kanata

With daycare spots scarce across Ottawa, Andrew Fleck Child Services is opening its 21st location in Kanata with 73 new affordable spaces.

There are already more than 500 families on the waitlist.

“We are expecting to open within a month,” said executive director, Kim Hiscott. “We’re just finishing up the construction pieces, it’s been a project that’s been a long time coming.”

Since Ontario signed on to the national $10-a-day program two years ago, waitlists have ballooned as demand outpaces the creation of new spaces.

Part of that deal is for Ontario to create 86,000 new spots by 2026.

“We fully expect the province is on track when it comes to space creation,” said Jenna Sudds, Ontario’s Minister of Family, Children and Social Development at a press conference to announce the opening on Sunday.

“The hard work that needs to be done is getting Ontario to the table with their operators to get to a place where they put in place a long-term sustainable funding formula.”

Starting next year, the province is changing the way it funds the program as some daycare operators struggle to keep up with the cost.

But it’s not clear what that will mean or how many affordable spots it will create.

“I am very anxiously awaiting the new funding formula and what they’re calling cost-based funding,” said Hiscott.

“As a licensed childcare not-for-profit, we’ve always strived to keep parent fees as low as possible.”

Once it’s open, the children will spend most of the day outside and will be studied as part of a research collaboration with the Canadian Centre for Outdoor Play.

“We’ll be looking at their physical, mental, emotional, social health and well-being and then comparing that to a more conventional programs across Ottawa,” said Louise De Lannoy, executive director of Outdoor Play Canada.

“The idea is to help shape policy moving forward in terms of how we look at outdoor play and learning for the early years.”

The new daycare is expected to open in June. 

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