Ontario ‘very close’ to $10/day child care deal

By Michael Talbot and The Canadian Press

Premier Doug Ford says the province is “very, very close” to a child-care deal with the federal government.

Ontario is now the only jurisdiction in Canada that hasn’t struck a $10-a-day child care deal after the other holdout, Nunavut, signed an agreement with the federal government on Monday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the $66-million deal with Nunavut on Monday morning.

Trudeau boasted that the deal will cut Nunavut’s child care fees in half by the end of the year, with the $10-a-day low coming into effect by March 2024.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and NDP Child Care critic Bhutila Karpoche released a statement Monday morning, chiding Premier Doug Ford for lagging on the important issue.

“Families in Ontario continue to be crushed by Ontario’s massive child care fees,” their joint statement read. “The price of everything continues to climb, and parents in Ontario are forced to pay our province’s staggering, mortgage-level fees.

“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.”

“His government must sign a deal for $10-a-day child care now.”

Trudeau said Monday that the federal government has been ready to sign a deal with Ontario for “many, many months now” and is still optimistic an agreement can be reached.

Back in November, Ontario’s Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, stressed that the province remains “committed” to striking a deal with the federal government, and said negotiations were ongoing.

The federal Liberal government plans to spend $30 billion over five years to cut child care fees to an average of $10 per day across the country.

Ford has stressed he wants a better deal for the province — one that’s flexible and sustainable beyond the initial five-year plan.

“What’s going to happen after five years?” Ford asked last November. “They’re going to wash their hands and walk away and we’re stuck with the funding? No, we need a good deal.”

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