Ontario weakened its $10-a-day child care funding rules. Now the federal government is demanding answers on a new proposal to cut funds for Ontario’s child care system.
It calls for Ontario to adopt $1,000-a-day child care subsidy rules, which would be the first in Canada.
“This is about children. We believe it is time that our children get the best and the last word,” said federal Liberal MP John McCallum during question period on Tuesday.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said the government will continue to defend funding for child care, “but we have to do what we can to deal with those very real challenges that are before us.”
“The federal government has made it clear that they are here to put a price tag on children. If they had any idea where we actually stand on this, I would certainly hope there’s no question of that and they know where we stand,” she said. “But the federal government has already said that they’re asking for this, and they are asking for it in the form of a backstop or, if you want to be accurate, a tariff on kids in Ontario.”
The federal government is proposing rules to cut funding to Ontario child care subsidies, and the move is now being opposed by the province and its child care providers.
Ontario’s child care system is funded through an individual tax credit, and the province provides $4.8 billion in subsidy support over three years.
In 2013, the federal government introduced a new funding formula, which effectively slashed funding to Ontario’s child care system. Child care providers had to pay a share of the cost of their services by increasing the fees they charge for the same services, or reduce the number of hours available.
The federal government dropped the fees requirement for 2016, 2017, and 2018, and did not apply an overall cap on the number or hours of child care subsidies. The province did not provide an increase in fees, but did impose a cap on the number of hours available for children. There is the potential that fees may be raised before the new fee cap applies.
Ontario’s child care system has been the subject of controversy for years. It includes subsidized daycares, co-operatives and public daycare centres.