Ontario weakened its $10-a-day child care funding rules. Now the federal government is demanding answers.
The provincial government’s recent decision to weaken its existing government-imposed funding rules for child care has thrown the future of the program into doubt, putting the future of all Ontario’s child care workers at stake.
In a recent decision letter sent to the Liberal government, child care funding advocates raised concerns about the government’s willingness to support the child care program as it stands, suggesting the government is not committed to the rule-making process.
The Liberal government has agreed to provide the province with an independent review of its child care funding rules, and will hold public consultations on those changes. The government says it wants to ensure child care services are available in Ontario, and that the Liberals are listening to childcare experts.
The province is also now facing a deadline to decide whether or not to renew its $10-a-day funding level for child care.
“The government has provided some reasonable and understandable reasons for why it is taking a closer look at the province-wide framework for child care funding, including our comments,” said Ontario’s child care and early learning development minister, Marie-France Lalonde.
“The minister is prepared to provide an independent review of all child care funding rules. We have said we are open to this review but will not commit to making a change, nor put up a fight.”
Lalonde says the Liberal government is aware of child care advocates’ concerns about the future of child care. “We are committed to ensuring that this is a safe and secure system that is affordable.”
“While the government is reviewing the child care system, it will, as always, listen to our experts, and not simply take their views at face value,” said Lalonde.
While child care advocates like to characterize Ontario’s child care funding rules as the strongest in North America, some worry that a review could weaken the program once Ontario’s own child care system has already been weakened by cuts.