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Ontario NDP pledge child care program, health-care spending in platform

Last Updated Apr 16, 2018 at 1:39 pm EDT

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath speaks after the Liberal government's budget on March 28, 2018.

Ontario’s New Democrats are promising free child care for families earning less than $40,000 and a boost to hospital budgets if elected this spring, but say they would run multi-year deficits to pay for their plan.

The promises are part of the party’s election platform — called “Change for the Better” — released Monday, less than a month before the start of the campaign.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says the fully costed platform gives voters the option to chose her party over the governing Liberals and opposition Progressive Conservatives.

The NDP child-care plan would be phased in over five years, would be free for households that earn $40,000 or less, and would grow to include infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

Fees for parents earning more than $40,000 would be based on ability to pay and the party says the average fee for families would be $12 a day.

The party projects five consecutive deficits to pay for its plan, with a $3.3 billion deficit in 2018-2019 and a $1.9 billion deficit in 2022-2023.

The NDP platform was analysed by former federal parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page who says its costing of individual measures is “reasonable.”

Ontario’s election will be held on June 7.

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