Now Reading
Opinion: Ontario holdout has apparently made the childcare deal better for all provinces

Opinion: Ontario holdout has apparently made the childcare deal better for all provinces

With todays signing of a childcare agreement with Ottawa, Ontario was the last of the provinces to agree to the deal, a fact that was being portrayed by opposition parties as a negative. Back in November, NDP leader Andrea Horwath issued a news release that stated, “other provinces were able to get a deal done with the federal government. But instead of rushing to bring families relief on child care fees, the Ford government is dragging its feet and refusing to file the paperwork — apparently unwilling to get a deal.”

At that time Education Minister Stephen Lecce had said Ontario wanted to make sure that the federal government was committed to the program for the long haul and wasn’t going to leave the provinces holding the bag after five years. That was not an unreasonable concern. Medicare, after all, stated out as a 50-50 proposition between Ottawa and the provinces—now the feds pay less than a quarter of health costs. There is also the issue of kindergarten for four-year-olds. Ontario is the only province that offers full-day, across-the-board kindergarten for this age category. Five other jurisdictions offer either part-day kindergarten or coverage that does not include all four-year-olds. Ontario expected that to be factored into any deal on childcare.

It appears that by holding out, Ontario has benefitted all of the provinces. The feds have apparently sweetened the deal with hundreds of millions of dollars to create new childcare spaces—that was not in the deal the provinces who signed early received, but now they will. A federal official told the Star, “If (Premier Doug Ford) had signed on two months ago that money wouldn’t be there.” Ontario also negotiated to have the program reviewed after three years—a measure insiders told the Star that will force the federal government to commit long-term to the plan.

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© 2022 The Bay Observer. All Rights Reserved.

Scroll To Top