Ontario’s $10-a-day child care subsidy plan is a big deal

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

On Sunday, the Ontario government introduced a new set of proposals for child care funding, and on Monday, it said they would proceed.

On Tuesday, Premier Ford’s government released its long-awaited framework outlining its plans on how to fund child care.

The move will affect the province’s daycare program, which has had a troubled start: It’s been plagued by scandals, and its performance has been inadequate for years. Under the plan, the government will roll out a plan that involves $10-a-day child care, and will increase its annual subsidy to about $500 million for the coming years.

At the heart of the controversy: The for-profit daycare industry.

For-profit child care centres are unregulated. As the Globe and Mail reported, they’re regulated by the government — in this case, by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, or the Ministry of Community and Social Services, a cabinet ministry.

The current $10-a-day daycare subsidy program was introduced at the same time as the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, but is overseen and regulated by the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

In its early years, the ministry found itself without enough money to adequately fund a program the government wanted to scale back, so it came up with a plan to give daycares a subsidy. The $10-a-day subsidy started in September 2018, giving daycares a 10 per cent subsidy per child.

“It was really a way to try and manage the situation without actually having a major funding challenge,” said Christine Smith, head of the ministry’s child care branch.

The problem, says Smith, is that the for-profit centres weren’t licensed by the

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