Ontario to overhaul child care system

Ontario to overhaul child care system

Ontario weakened its $10-a-day child care funding rules. Now the federal government is demanding answers from the province.

“The provincial government should make a full disclosure of the details of the proposed changes to child care funding,” said Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Lisa MacLeod in response to a question raised by opposition MPP Wayne Easter on Monday.

“The government should also share its plans for the province’s Early Childhood Development Program (ECDP), which is only provided to families with children under six months of age. In particular, the government should respond to our concerns about whether it will continue to provide funds to the province’s poorest families and how it proposes to do so.”

The Liberal government is set to table legislation to overhaul the system on Parliament Hill next week, after introducing the overhaul in the Ontario Budget. The new legislation would replace the old system, which was implemented in the late 1980s.

Premier Kathleen Wynne says the new system will help families take greater control over their children’s development.

However, a key aspect of the overhaul is axing the universal system of family daycare, which provided subsidized child care to families and is estimated to cost $1.5 billion in new funding every year, says a report released in March by the Centre for Social Justice.

The report said in Ontario, universal daycare costs the same as the current system of family daycare, with an average cost per child of $1,060, and was estimated to cost between $600 million and $1.5 billion in new funding every year.

It said the universal system is “significantly less effective” than the current system, because parents pay far more for daycare than they would for a traditional family daycare placement in the country.

The changes include:

Maintaining “traditional” family daycare and banning universal daycare

Reimbursement for family daycare only when a family applies for it

No government reimbursement for daycare for babies born in hospital or for premature babies

No government reimbursement for families for up to two children

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