How intense pressure from for-profit daycares has transformed Ontario’s rollout of $10-a-day child care — and sparked a political standoff with government about what is and what isn’t affordable child care.
Since 2002, the daycares and universities have been forced to make up ground in their child care contracts by raising fees.
As a result, for the majority of parents receiving government subsidies, the daycare system is extremely expensive.
Under the government’s new child care plan, parents pay $150 per month for two hours of daily child care in a classroom setting. Parents of young children who qualify for subsidies pay $100 for one full-day of child care per week, or $250 for two days.
In the past, families needed to bring in additional funds to pay for daycare. However, since the government introduced a one-time financial penalty last July, parents have had to pay one-time penalties for overpaying for daycare.
If parents have to pay these one-time penalties — which is what is happening now — the government is trying to send a message that you don’t want to oversubsidize Ontario’s child care system.
This approach has the government facing three very significant legal battles over who should pay and whether the children are properly cared for.
This week, there was a political standoff as the government tried to convince a single arbitrator to find ways to implement the government’s $10-a-day child care plan without increasing fees or penalties — a situation that would have put daycare and family daycare workers out of work, especially in smaller communities.
The government is currently seeking an emergency stay of a ruling of U.S.-based arbitrator David Kappeler.
Kappeler’s ruling would allow daycares to raise fees and make up any overpayment with a one-time financial penalty. In the ruling published this past week, Kappeler was very clear:
“This is a decision about who is ultimately responsible for all future child care costs in Ontario. The government is responsible for the daycares currently in use, including the costs associated with expansion.”
However, the government’s main legal battle is around the arbitrator’s ruling to allow daycares to