Ontario weakened its $10-a-day child care funding rules. Now the federal government is demanding answers to questions it doesn’t have answers to any more
When it comes to the child care funding rules in Ontario, I usually make the case for them, and against the feds, as if the federal government is the bad guy in this equation. But that’s a little unfair to the feds, though, since the feds are always the bad guys in all this.
On Monday, when the federal government, with little consultation from Ontario, tightened the rules around Ontario’s eligibility for the federal tax credit for the cost of post-secondary learning and certified child care accommodation.
It’s not a great change. In fact, it’s not a change in any policy, it’s a change to the eligibility criteria for the tax credit – which, let’s be honest, is a tiny little blip compared to the huge blips the government gets for everything else it does.
But this change to the rules had significant consequences.
For one, it forced the new Ontario government to decide whether to increase the eligibility of the tax credit as a percentage of the cost of child care accommodation, or as a dollar amount. The latter is not something that would be easy to do.
And it pushed the new government to rethink its policy on the tax credit – and to rethink its entire approach to the funding of child care.
The change is not in itself necessarily a bad thing for Ontario’s child care funding system. Instead, its true effect is to make the funding policy a little more dynamic, a little more complex, and a little more flexible.
In the past, the formula for calculating the percentage of the cost of child care that the province contributes towards government subsidies to child care providers has been static. That was the way the policy was set up. That was the way it was supposed to work.
That worked fine, for more than a decade and a half. However, now the policy is changing, and it’s changing