Ontario’s Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, says the province remains “committed” to striking a deal with the federal government for $10/day child care, with negotiations set to continue on Wednesday.
Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government plans to spend $30 billion over five years to cut child care fees to an average of $10 per day across the country, but Ontario remains one of the final holdouts.
Premier Doug Ford has stressed he wants a better deal for the province — one that’s flexible and sustainable beyond the initial five-year plan.
“What’s going to happen after five years?” Ford asked last week. “They’re going to wash their hands and walk away and we’re stuck with the funding? No, we need a good deal.”
While announcing $600 million in funding to build new schools and child care spaces across Ontario on Tuesday, Lecce said the government remains “committed to landing a fair deal” for child care.
“It’s so obvious that child care is unaffordable and inaccessible to too many families,” he said, laying the blame for the high costs on the previous Liberal government.
“We are sitting with the federal government tomorrow with the aim to land a fair deal that reduces costs and brings us to $10 a day which is what the federal government committed, which is what we intend on delivering to families in Ontario.”
Modelling by University of Toronto economist Gordon Cleveland concludes Ontario will need to increase childcare capacity by about 200,000 new spaces if fees are cut by 50 per cent, which the federal plan calls for by the end of 2022.
With files from Cynthia Mulligan and Meredith Bond of CityNews, and The Canadian Press