Ontario weakened its $10-a-day child care funding rules. Now the federal government is demanding answers.
The federal government imposed its harshest cuts on child care funding to date, forcing the province to slash funding for more than half of child care spaces to $1,100 a month. The cuts are expected to result in some parents losing their child care spaces if they cannot find affordable alternative spaces.
On Monday, Ontario began the process of cancelling all contracts issued under its current $10-a-day child care funding rules. The province announced its intention to cancel the contracts through a letter to Ontario parents last week. The cancellation would cause a total loss of up to 40 spaces in the largest child care spaces across the province.
“The government must be willing to put the interests of parents and children ahead of whatever political agenda they have pushed,” NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said in a statement. “The changes [to Ontario child care funding] will mean parents without affordable child care will continue to struggle and struggle more. We will not stand for this.”
The premier has long called on the government to cancel the contracts before they are complete.
The province canceled the contracts after Ontario’s child care funding rules were tightened. Prior to the changes, child care providers were paid by the province by the number of children they provided care for. Now, providers are paid by the province per child, with no cap on the number of children they can provide. The province changed the rules to try to prevent the government from receiving a “backdoor” subsidy for its own child care funding.
“The government is not above the law, but we must recognize that their changes in the child care funding rules and cap have been well thought out and they reflect the interests of parents and children,” Horwath said.
The Liberals also said they oppose the cut to child care funding as an economic policy.