How intense pressure from for-profit daycares has transformed Ontario’s rollout of $10-a-day child care — and sparked a political standoff.
For years, the province and the federal government kept the details of Ontario’s child care program a closely guarded secret.
“There’s a lot of fear and a lot of uncertainty about what’s going on,” Ontario Public Service Association president John Milloy said.
On Wednesday, Ontario amended its Child Care Act and posted the public announcement online.
The details, announced in a document tabled in the legislature, reveal how the province is trying to cover up what has been the most controversial child care initiative in Canada since the Liberals’ 2008 overhaul of the $500-a-year Child Care Benefit.
But it still does not fully cover all of the costs of child care, as the government cannot afford to subsidize the costs at the levels it has promised. The changes will add an additional $70 million to the subsidy.
The province did disclose a “preliminary figure” — $60.5 million — for the Child Care Benefit, which will help cover the cost of child care for 3,300 families. The government is required to cover an additional $45 million for child care subsidies in the 2018 budget.
The government says it will cost $80 million more to cover the cost of an additional 12,700 child care spaces.
“This is about protecting and caring for children and ensuring that they are able to get the supports they need. Our children are our best asset,” Premier Doug Ford said in a statement.
The details from the government’s document will be crucial for the looming battle.
In the coming weeks, the province will launch consultations on its funding and the details of its Child Care Contract.
The contract, to be negotiated by the province, will be “a key component in the province’s efforts to make sure that child care is affordable and accessible, that parents are supported in their choice of child care provider, and that there is no discrimination against any group” by the province, said Ford spokesman Jim Watson.
But it is not clear which parents will get the help