Ontario Premier Doug Ford says provincial leaders are continuing to meet with federal representatives this week to continue to finalize the province’s $10-a-day childcare agreement.
Ontario became the only province in Canada without a deal with the federal government for $10-a-day childcare on Monday, after Nunavut signed their childcare deal with Ottawa.
“I’m not going to make a deal just for making a deal and we get shortchanged,” Ford told Q104, KenoraOnline and DrydenNow earlier this week.
Nunavut’s deal will pay the province $66 million over five years, will reduce fees to $10 a day per child by March 2024, and aims to increase the number of spaces in daycare programs.
“We’re going to make sure that the federal government is a true partner,” said Ford. “Not one-time funding. Not here’s enough money for five years and then they take off. We need consistent funding from the federal government.”
Education Minister Stephen Lecce says Ontario is asking the federal government for over $10 billion to help offset Ontario’s current childcare costs – which are listed at some of the highest rates across the country.
“We’re very, very close,” adds Ford. “I’m confident that we’ll strike a deal that will be beneficial for everyone in Ontario. We’ll get there.”
Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and the NDP’s childcare critic Bhutila Karpoche said Ford is costing working families hundreds of dollars per month by refusing to sign the deal.
“Doug Ford’s refusal to make parents and young families a priority means that parents are paying $2,000 a month or more in fees, while families in every other jurisdiction in the country are paying as low as $10-a-day,” said the two, in a prepared statement.
On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was optimistic that Ottawa will reach a deal with the provincial government soon.
“We have been ready to reach an agreement with Ontario for many, many months now. The frame of the agreement has been set out for a long time,” said Trudeau.
The Liberal government campaigned on a national $10-a-day childcare plan within five years, and set aside $30 billion in last year’s budget to do so.
“It’s a little over $10 billion that we are ready to send to Ontario for early learning and childcare. We very much hope that the Ontario government decides that it is in both their interests and mostly the interests of Ontario families to move forward,” adds Trudeau.
Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca says if he’s elected in June’s provincial election, he will make sure $10-a-day childcare happens in Ontario.
“Doug Ford’s failure to sign a childcare deal with the federal government is costing Ontario families thousands of dollars. The Ontario Liberal Party is committed to delivering $10-a-day childcare, and we will get it done if Doug Ford won’t.”
“Even Jason Kenney reached a childcare deal before Doug Ford,” added Del Duca.
Ford spoke with the Q Morning Show’s Ken O’Neil and Kim Leduc earlier this week.