Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

Prime Minister Doug Ford and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland are holding talks at the back with the aim of reaching an agreement to provide $ 10-a-day childcare to Ontario.

But Ford stressed on Tuesday that Ontario expects to be treated in the same way as provinces that have already signed agreements with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government.

“I just do not want to make a deal to make a deal,” Ford said, noting that Ottawa gave Alberta $ 3.8 billion to a population of 4.4 million, while Ontario is being “shortened” by being offered only 10 , $ 2 billion for a population of 14.8 million people.

In order for Ontario to receive the same amount per. per capita like Alberta, the federal government would have to raise about $ 12.8 billion – $ 2.6 billion more than is on the table.

The province claims that Ottawa’s funding formula does not take into account the fact that 260,000 four- and five-year-olds attend a full-time kindergarten in Ontario. It costs the province $ 3.6 billion annually.

But federal officials insist Queen’s Park has not yet provided details on how it would spend the $ 10.2 billion currently offered, making higher demands without any detailed explanation.

In Ottawa, a senior official who spoke confidentially to discuss internal considerations noted that Ontario initially said it deserved $ 16 billion in federal funding.

It’s not clear if that meant Queen’s Park expected Ottawa to play their full – time kindergarten program.

It is also not yet known how many “net new childcare facilities” the province would like to create with the federal money.

At a campaign-style event at an Etobicoke police station, Ford said “we see these agreements concluded” with other provinces, and “they are more per capita with (fewer) ties.”

Despite the stalemate, the prime minister stressed that he is convinced that “we will make a deal” for parents and their children.

“I have a good relationship with the Deputy Prime Minister. I talked to her over the weekend. We both agree that we will get a deal. And by the way, we also trust each other when they make a deal, “he said of Freeland, with whom he has worked closely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Chrystia … she’s very honorable and we’ll probably get there. We’ve been through this before.”

The province has said Ottawa should “reflect” the $ 3.6 billion it spends on a full-time kindergarten because it meets many of the criteria Trudeau has set for accessible quality, early learning and child care for children under five.

Ottawa counteracts that reaching an agreement requires a clear plan for how a province will expand licensed non-profit areas and reduce child care fees, beginning with a 50 percent reduction on average by the end of 2022.

The long-term goal is to reduce the average fee for a regulated childcare facility in 2025-26 to $ 10 a day – down from as much as $ 70 a day in some daycare providers in the Greater Toronto Area.

Ottawa’s goal is to get the provinces to build capacity within their regulated childcare systems to ensure enough space for 59 percent of children in the age group of newborns to five years.

This figure is based on research in Quebec, which was groundbreaking for affordable childcare in Canada and found that it is the percentage of parents who use it.

Ford, meanwhile, said “we need sustainability” so the program can continue to be funded beyond the fifth year of the agreement.

“We need this to continue. What is going to happen after five years? They want to wash their hands and walk away and we are stuck with the funding,” the premiere said.

In addition, he said any agreement should include support for private day care providers, who make up about 24 percent of day care providers in Ontario.

Ottawa points to pacts with other provinces and says it is not a stumbling block.

Trudeau has already entered into agreements with provinces such as Prince Edward Island, Alberta and Saskatchewan, which have expanded support to cover private operators along with an expansion of new regulated non-profit areas.

In terms of sustainable funding, Family, Children and Social Development Minister Karina Gould said Monday that Ottawa has built an ongoing $ 8.3 billion funding for the provinces’ child care systems. Gould plans to introduce legislation to enshrine the program’s parameters in law – another tool that the Liberal government believes will make it more difficult for any future administration to roll back childcare obligations.

Robert Benzie is the bureau chief of Star’s Queen’s Park and a reporter covering politics in Ontario. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

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