Ontario is close to a child-care deal with the federal government, Premier Doug Ford said Tuesday, as his province remained the only jurisdiction without a deal with Ottawa for $10-a-day child care.
Ford told radio station Q104 Kenora that he is confident Ontario will reach an agreement.
“We're very, very close,” he said. “I'm confident we're going to strike a deal that's going to be beneficial for everyone in Ontario.”
His comments come after a deal announced Monday with Nunavut leaves Ontario as the last holdout on a child-care deal.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that he is optimistic the government can reach a deal with Ontario.
“We have been ready to reach an agreement with Ontario for many, many months now,” he said. “The frame of the agreement has been set out for a long time.”
Ford told a different radio station, CJBQ in Belleville, that he wants to ensure the child-care funding continues beyond five years.
“We need sustainable child care, not one-time off payments,” he said. “We need consistent escalators all the way through for many years.”
Education Minister Stephen Lecce said Monday that the province is pushing for more than the $10.2 billion on offer from Ottawa to ensure that fees can be reduced to $10 a day since Ontario families pay some of the highest prices in the country for child care.
Lecce said that Ontario is also making the case that families who send their children to either not-for-profit or independent child-care settings should benefit from the fee reductions.
The education minister has also previously said that Ottawa's offer doesn't take into account the $3.6 billion a year that the province spends on full-day kindergarten for four- and five-year-old children.
Families, Children and Social Development Minister Karina Gould said Monday that the agreements are specifically about early learning and child care.
“We've been very clear from the beginning that kindergarten is beyond the scope of the agreement,” she said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2022.