QUEEN’S PARK – During question period Wednesday, Doly Begum, the NDP’s Early Learning and Child Care critic, said the Ford government is moving Ontario backward after cutting $23 million from child care funding for low-income families while favouring unaffordable, large chain corporate providers.
Last month the Ford government quietly eliminated the For-Profit Maximum Threshold, which limited provincial funding for corporate and for-profit child care operators. Corporate child care providers can now receive a greater share of public funding.
“The Ford government has slashed almost $23 million in funding that was supposed to go to low-income families to assist with childcare costs,” said Begum, NDP MPP for Scarborough Southwest.
The Ford government made the decision to cut support for families and expand less affordable, for-profit child care after feedback from unnamed “partners.”
“In a memo sent to child care stakeholders last month, the government stated that it made these decisions, ‘in response to feedback from partners,’” said Begum. “Can this government tell us exactly who they consulted before deciding to cut childcare subsidies for low-income families?”
Begum said that studies have shown that not-for-profit childcare offers higher standards of care and better wages for workers. She said child care advocates have urged the province to expand not-for-profit child care spaces.
“We know that the biggest issue in the childcare sector is the lack of affordable, high quality, and safe child care spaces,” said Begum. “By removing the For-Profit Threshold, the government is opening the door to large chain providers. By cutting millions in assistance for low-income families, they are making childcare less affordable for those who need it most.
“Ontario needs to move forward, not backward.
“Who did the minister cut a deal with in favour of corporate, for-profit child care providers?”