Right now, 12,870 children and youth participate in registered programs at Priority Centres. When fees were applied to adult programs at Priority Centres in 2011, 61 percent did not return. The percentage for children and youth is likely to be even higher. Even though Parks, Forestry and Recreation says that the subsidy program will be there for these children and youth – it won’t. The budget allocation for the subsidy program in 2012 guarantees another year of almost constant freezes. The last thing adults should be doing is kicking children and youth out of community centres.

There’s another reason it’s important to keep Priority Centres alive. Before 1998, community centres and programs in the old City of Toronto were all free. The Priority Centres are all we have left of this important access model. While there are only 21 right now, Priority Centres give us something to build on across the city – a vision for the future.

Right now, the City wants to cut all 22 Priority Centres. This means 12,870 children and youth will be shut out of their community centres in summer 2012. Many will not be able to return. IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO CHANGE THEIR MINDS.