How intense pressure from for-profit daycares has transformed Ontario’s rollout of $10-a-day child care — and sparked a political standoff.
It’s been a roller-coaster ride for daycare providers since the federal government took over the province’s child care system on April 1, 2016, and the Ontario Child Care Benefit Plan. Now, child care operators are going to court — and even facing the prospect of a lawsuit.
The $10-a-day childcare plan is supposed to give parents in Ontario up to $1,200 a month for each of their children aged three to six. The province has tried to make the plan as generous as possible, with a target of providing at least $1,000 a month.
But an Ontario Superior Court judge recently ordered that the province must cut the maximum amount to $650 a month.
The province is appealing the decision.
The battle has intensified when Ontario’s for-profit daycares — which charge as little as $500 a month — began opening for business in late 2015. About half of the province’s child care workers have been making $500 to $1,000 a month plus benefits.
According to child care operators and the human rights commission, some for-profit daycares have cut the hours of children for years, denying them access to regular education or a place to socialize on holidays and weekends.
The two sides in the ongoing battle don’t agree on what the future holds.
The for-profit operators who have been fighting the province are called the Child Care Legal Assistance (CCCLA) organization, which represents about 30 facilities and 10,000 employees.
The CCLA organization’s two-year-old legal battle began when the province announced it would cut the maximum amount from $1,218 to $650.
The province said the $650 amount would help address complaints from parents that private child care was inadequate and overcrowded. The province said that the $650 amount would