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Province overpays some families for childcare costs on strike days

Last Updated Feb 5, 2020 at 6:56 pm EDT

The Ford government says they’ve had an issue with overpaying parents for childcare costs on teacher strike days. They say counting the number of days that schools have been closed has lead to the data error.

The Ministry of Education announced back in January that they would provide parents with a credit of up to $60 for when strike actions close schools or school-based child care centres.

But some parents tell CityNews they received more money than anticipated after signing up to receive the funding.

One mother, who asked to remain anonymous, said she only expected $65 dollars because her two children have only had one strike day so far at their Toronto elementary school.

However when she checked her bank statement, she had received $320, $160 for each child.

A bank statement shows two payments of $160 from “SUPPFORPARENTS,” the education credit provided by the Ontario government.

A second mother said she also only expected to received $65 for her two children, but a total of $260 was deposited into her account. She says her two children have also only been affected by one strike day.

A bank statement shows two payments of $160 and $100 from “SUPPFORPARENTS,” the education credit provided by the Ontario government.

A statement provided by the Ministry of Education said the system data needed to be adjusted so “it accurately counted the number of days schools had been closed and did not double count elementary and secondary school closures.”

A Ministry spokesperson said they will “continue to review our systems to ensure all parents receive support during this period of disruption.”

They said they could not provide any information about how much parents have been overpaid, but say there will be an opportunity to offset some of the payments with two elementary teachers’ union strike days next week.

CityNews also asked how much money has been given out to parents so far since the beginning of the rotating strikes, but the Ministry could not provided an answer.

A total of 361,705 applications for the credit have been received and the government says 90,748 payments have been deposited so far.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario called the plan to pay parents on strike days “a bribe” and has accused the Ford government of paying in advance for strikes, adding it shows they aren’t working hard for a resolution.

Currently, all four teachers’ unions are engaged in labour action and three unions have participated in one-day rotating strikes.