How intense pressure from for-profit daycares has transformed Ontario’s rollout of $10-a-day child care — and sparked a political standoff over whether government should support the program, the Star has learned.
When the Liberals launched their child care plan in 2011, it was billed as a way to ease pressure on single-payer health care. As it turned out, the Liberals faced a crisis on the other side of the province.
In the months before they announced the plan, Ontario’s single-payer health system announced a staff shortage, which prompted the provincial Liberals to announce that they were scrapping their planned overhaul of the health system. The Liberals then pulled the plug on the child care plan.
Instead of helping people get child care, they gave thousands of single parents the choice of going anywhere but the province’s two lone publicly-owned child care providers — the publicly traded Oakville-based Carestream and the Ontario Nursery and Daycare Association (ONDA).
In response, the Liberal government said it would instead cover all the costs of child care for children in the “single-payer” system if parents choose private child care — by offering them a no-strings-attached subsidy.
Now, child care advocates are criticizing the government and suggesting it would be prudent to extend that support to other parents with single-parent families.
“What happened in the Liberals’ child care review has left the government with no choice but to extend the same subsidy to Ontario’s single-parent families,” said John Stinson, president of the ONDA. “The government’s own review of the single-parent child care system identified a serious and immediate crisis in the system. It’s now time to get ahead of the problem or have the problem get worse.”
On Wednesday, in the House of Assembly, Liberal MPP Nana Lund — who led the government’s review of