Parents protesting the new daycare system in Ontario

Parents protesting the new daycare system in Ontario

How intense pressure from for-profit daycares has transformed Ontario’s rollout of $10-a-day child care — and sparked a political standoff

More than 5,000 parents in the province have been working since early summer to access a new type of daycare that only costs $10 a day.

It’s the first step in a plan to ensure all low-income families in Ontario have access to affordable child care, and could help close a projected $9-billion cost gap in the province’s child-care system by 2025.

But on Friday, more than 50 parents in Toronto disrupted the rollout at a local daycare centre in the city as the province’s Liberal government was unveiling the policy, prompting a heated public exchange between the parents and Liberal MPs. Several politicians vowed to block the policy, while others warned parents they would leave the facility if the daycare centre left the city.

While the province has spent weeks debating the details of the system — what qualifications parents must have to qualify for and what the cost will be — parents were still upset about what they described as a breach of their privacy.

“We’re all sitting on the same couch, and we want privacy,” said one child at the event.

That sentiment was echoed at a news conference by Liberal MPP Michael Coteau, chairman of the family members committee, which is investigating the rollout and will take a closer look at the daycares in the future. “The parents feel they’ve had their privacy invaded,” he said.

After the meeting, parents who signed up to receive service at the facility, but now say they will not be able to pay for it, will attend another event planned for Monday.

Coteau said parents were willing to pay for child care, but that the province was not able to provide enough support for childcare, or find enough partners for daycares.

“The parents will go on strike, that’s for certain,” Coteau said. “The province has to be committed to ensuring that child care is accessible so that all families get the support they need to raise their children in a healthy, safe and affordable way.”


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