Ontario extends $10/day child care registration deadline in hopes of getting more operators

Ontario is extending the deadline for child care operators to sign up for the $10-a-day program and standardizing the process to encourage more providers to sign up.

The Canadian Press obtained a letter sent today to municipalities advising them that the deadline is being extended from September 1 to November 1, to give operators more time to make decisions and ensure that more parents can see savings.

Many child care operators, especially for-profit ones, have said they want to sign up in order to provide parent discounts, but are hesitant about the implications for their business and have expressed concern that each municipality has a different process.

Municipalities’ ability to determine “a reasonable level of profit” has also hit some providers the wrong way, Maggie Moser, director of the Ontario Independent Child Care Association, told CBC Toronto last month.

Not only did she feel the wording empowered municipal bureaucrats to make decisions about what is or is not “reasonable,” Moser said the wording of the province’s agreement does not give providers confidence in their ability to cover all their expenses after losing income reduce expenses. The agreement does not cover expenses such as loan and mortgage repayments or property taxes.

“They don’t fund us, they take funding away from us,” Moser said. “They expect center owners to fund reimbursements if they don’t replace that income.”

Ontario is now telling municipalities they must share a sample standard agreement with all licensed operators in their area by August 29.

A senior government source says operators who have already opted out will be able to reconsider their decision in light of the changes and sign up, if they wish.

The province also says in the letter that municipalities and operators must sign an agreement within 30 calendar days of a request, up from 60, and then must provide parents with refunds within 20 calendar days of receipt of funding from the province. nursery.

The government says that despite the extended deadline, parents will still see savings of 50% on average by December 31, as originally planned.

Just weeks before September, adoption varies widely across municipalities, with some – especially smaller areas – seeing all or nearly all operators apply, while other regions see less than half of the operators. operators apply so far.

In Toronto, the largest region, 587 of a total of 1,042 licensed child care centers applied to participate — and 32 opted out — although the percentage of for-profit operators who applied was much lower than that non-profit organizations. .

About a third of eligible for-profit daycares have already applied, compared to two-thirds of nonprofit daycares. There are 19 for-profit centers that have opted out and 13 non-profits that have opted out.

WATCH | Why some providers are hesitant to sign up for $10 daycare:

Some Ontario providers reluctant to sign up for $10-a-day child care program

Ontario is struggling to make Ottawa’s national $10-a-day child care program a reality for parents in the province as some child care centers are reluctant to sign up for the program.

York Region received 240 registration applications out of its 557 providers, although it had a higher percentage of for-profit participation than in the nonprofit sector. Ten withdrew. In Dufferin County, out of 13 operators, one signed up and one opted out.

Meanwhile, in municipalities like Manitoulin-Sudbury and Kawartha Lakes, all operators have applied or indicated they will, and in Thunder Bay, 18 of 21 operators have applied or said they will would.

In Peel Region, west of Toronto, the majority of operators have expressed interest in joining the program, but some are complaining about the process, which requires them to submit an “expression of interest” before obtaining details.

Experts say the rollout of the program in Ontario differs from other provinces, in part because child care is funded by municipalities rather than directly by the province.

Some child care advocates have expressed concern that municipalities appear to be negotiating center-by-center agreements, rather than having a standard set of terms.

Melissa C. Keyes