It’s a matter of he said, she said when it comes to the federal-provincial negotiations over bringing $10-per-day child care to Ontario.
Karina Gould, the federal minister in charge, has stated that the Ontario government has not provided her office with information on what they need. The province, meanwhile, maintains that they sent a term sheet to the federal government as part of the negotiations that were taking place before the last election and that it is the feds who are not providing enough information.
“We’ve provided the federal government, before the election, with data points,” Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said Monday. “We’ve sent the federal government a letter as recently as Friday.”
That letter laid out three key points of concern to the Ford government — sustainability, flexibility and support for all families regardless of which child care model they choose.
Neither side has laid out all the details of the $10.2 billion on offer from the federal government but provincial officials said the terms offered by the program would leave the province facing a funding hole of $1 billion per year and rising. The federal offer puts forward staggered funding with money increasing each year but Ontario claims it would only lower the cost to $21 a day by year five, not $10.
“The last thing we want to set up is an expectation and then fees start going back up at the end of five years,” a senior official said.
Lecce said that under the current terms parents could see a dramatic spike in fees come year six unless the federal government commits now to ongoing funding.
“Literally fees would catastrophically rise to where they’re at today or worse,” Lecce said.
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In making their case for needing assurances on the long-term sustainability of any child care deal, provincial officials have repeatedly pointed to health care which was supposed to be a 50/50 deal but now sees the province take on 78% of the costs.