Ontario budget leaves more questions than answers on child care

Parents urged to check the fine print on the new CARE tax credit

Today’s Ontario budget will leave parents and educators looking for answers as the budget includes no details on Ontario’s licensed child care budget – including the continuation of the wage enhancement grant.

The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care is warning parents to read the fine print on the Ford Government’s child care tax credit. While the government is trumpeting the tax credit as providing up to 75% of child care expenses, that rate is only available to families earning less than $20,000 and tops out at a total payment of $6000. This is even less than what the PC’s promised during the last election and will do little to address affordability for parents paying the highest child care fees in the country – often above $15,000 a year.

Shockingly the budget provides no details of the licensed child care budget, which leave parents and educators waiting to hear if there will be cuts to operating funding, subsidies or the Provincial Wage Enhancement Grant for Early Childhood Educators and child care workers.

When queried, government officials said the Ministry of Education is working on an announcement in “coming weeks and months”. The OCBCC is urging parents and educators to call their MPP and the Minister of Education to demand transparency on child care funding and the wage enhancement grant.

Finally, the budget promises the creation of 30,000 child care spaces in schools over the next five years. But in a major policy change proposes that these spaces could be provided on a for-profit basis.