How intense pressure from for-profit daycares has transformed Ontario’s rollout of $10-a-day child care — and sparked a political standoff.
For-profit child-care companies have opened thousands of child-care centres across the province over the past 15 years, and they’re opening up more.
But the province, which has a long-standing childcare provision in law, won’t mandate any of the for-profit providers to offer full-time child care.
Instead, the Liberal government is introducing legislation that would make child care available to anyone making $30,600 or less annually.
The move has enraged both the for-profit child-care companies and the nongovernmental child-care providers, who say it unfairly privileges for-profit companies.
Ontario child-care advocates have long been calling for the industry to be regulated by the same rules as other child-care providers.
But for-profit child-care providers aren’t allowed to charge more than $25 per day at a time — the figure the Liberals said they wanted to use as the benchmark to regulate them.
“We have to be the only province in Canada that protects the right to home-based child care,” said Sandra Horwood, the executive director of the advocacy group Kids Help Phone (KHP).
“There’s too many people out there who want to be parents. There’s too many people who don’t have a good family structure. There’s too many people who just aren’t getting the opportunity.”
Horwood said it’s difficult to understand why the government would prioritize one group — for-profit child-care providers — over another.
“Why is it an imposition to have to provide daycare but not to have to make daycares affordable for moms who have to work?”
“Why is it an imposition to provide subsidies to home-based child care and not subsidized daycare?” she said.
“We’ve been fighting this battle for a long time … to be able to provide child care … and that’s what we’re fighting for.”
In the early spring, the Liberals announced the new legislation, saying they would also “strengthen