How intense pressure from for-profit daycares has transformed Ontario’s rollout of $10-a-day child care — and sparked a political standoff over who’s to blame.
By John Stinson | May 2019
On the morning of April 15, the Ontario government announced a deal with the province’s largest childcare operator, Community Child Care Association of Ontario, to open three new facilities by September 1. The announcement came one week after the release of a new provincial report — released by the province’s auditor general — that found the largest provider, which is not related to Community Child Care Association of Ontario, didn’t comply with requirements around pay ratios.
It was a huge win for the province. For-profit daycares have been a hot topic in Ontario politics for about six months. This past March, an Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed a challenge to the province’s child-care funding legislation, which sought to ban for-profit daycares — which are unregulated, unregulated, unregulated — from receiving funds from the government to open their daycare centres. After several months of legal setbacks for the government under pressure from for-profit daycares, it announced a new government-sponsored pilot project to offer publicly funded daycare through for-profit providers.
“This is the first real test,” Christine Elliott, the minister of children and youth services who led the government’s announcement, told reporters at a news conference. “I think there are a lot of people who have doubts about that, but I think this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
But one small, unregulated for-profit provider — Community Child Care Association of Ontario — refused to hand over the information necessary to open and run a daycare centre under the pilot project, and the government said it would take it to court.
By the following morning, after the April 15 announcement had been made, the government had already announced it