The provincial and federal governments have yet to reach a deal on the Ontario portion of the Liberals’ promised national child-care system, with spaces costing an average of $10 per day.
Ottawa has struck accords with seven other provinces since the program was announced in this year’s federal budget. Alberta came on board this Monday.
While speaking with reporters at Queen’s Park on Monday, Ontario’s Education Minister Stephen Lecce said that he is unwilling to sign on to a deal that won’t keep child-care costs low indefinitely. He also refused to provide details for when a deal could be reached.
The Ford government is facing escalating pressure to reach a deal with the feds in the wake of an agreement between Ottawa and the Alberta provincial government that was announced on Monday.
The agreement with Alberta includes creating 42,500 new regulated early learning and child care spaces by the end of March 2026. With federal funding of almost $3.8 billion over the next five years, Alberta will also see a 50 per cent reduction in average parent fees for children under the age of six in regulated child care by the end of 2022.
This agreement will fund critical services, and grow a strong and skilled workforce of early childhood educators, including through greater opportunities for professional development, a statement from the prime minister’s office said. It will also support a child care system that is fully inclusive of children with disabilities and children needing enhanced or individual supports, and ensures all families have equitable access to high-quality, affordable child care.
The agreement also includes a clear commitment to continue to work collaboratively with Indigenous organizations in Alberta to develop an approach that will support Indigenous children in the province in having access to culturally-appropriate, quality, and affordable child care, the statement added.
Earlier this year, the federal government reached similar agreements with the governments of British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Yukon, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. Quebec also reached an asymmetric agreement with Ottawa to strengthen the early learning and child care system in the province.