Ontario weakened its $10-a-day child care funding rules. Now the federal government is demanding answers from province and the feds over how the changes came about.
The rules change to child care, which required municipalities to maintain an open, publicly funded daycare in most cases, took effect on March 1.
“There has been a lot of misinformation being given out, as well as misinformation being created,” Ontario Child Care Coalition spokesperson Andrea Dube said.
“When I look at this [changes] with my own eyes, I see a lot of confusion.”
The coalition is asking for answers from “all parties” and is waiting for the federal minister of children, youth and community services Sonia LeBel to reply.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Children, Youth and Community Services did not respond to a request for comment.
Ontario strengthened the regulations in February so municipalities could pay for child care for up to four children under the age of six.
To meet the funding needs, municipalities had to set aside five per cent of their municipal budget for child services.
The change affected child care centres in the city of Toronto, Peel Region, York Region and Durham Region.
The changes were announced by the province on Dec. 10 and took effect on March 1.
The province also capped child care subsidies at 50 per cent of the province’s income-based Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) in a move that could be beneficial, said Dube.
“I think it’s the wrong direction to make Ontario child care more expensive for families.”
Dube said the province has done a good job in cutting back fees and improving access to subsidized daycare.
Ontario’s changes came at a time when the provincial and federal government were facing a shortfall in child care funding that saw child care subsidy fees double between 2015 and 2017.
Child Care Coalition spokesperson Laura Dawson said the province should have announced the changes earlier in the year.
“We don’t know where this has come from,” Dawson said. “It does feel very strange to see the changes in the first place.”
Dawson says the coalition supports funding the best possible care available for children