If they are elected to government in the next election, the Ontario Liberals promise to make childcare affordable for everyone by capping the cost to $10 per day.
Party leader Steven Del Duca unveiled the plan virtually in a press conference with local candidate David Farrow.
“Within 100 days of taking office, we will reduce the costs and fees of before and after school care by about 50 per cent,” Del Duca said.
The plan would reduce the cost of childcare by more than 80 per cent, the party said, saving parents between $3,600 and $6,000 a new for a single infant, toddler or pre-schooler in care. The plan would also create 1,900 new childcare spaces in Sudbury, Del Duca said Monday.
For universal childcare, Ontario will work with the federal government to implement $10 per day childcare, offering service at no cost for families earning under $20,000 and partial subsidies for households earning up to $45,000.
Phased in over two years, reduce fees for before and after-school care to $10 a day would take effect in September 2022.
The Liberal plan would also enhance the 18-month parental leave to prevent the reduction in EI benefits for those who opt to take the full 18 months.
Parents who use unlicensed childcare would also receive some help. The plan would boost the Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses (CARE) tax credit by 50 per cent to an average of $2,000 and will provide it in regular advance payments.
The Ontario Liberals also plan to provide free tuition for all early childhood education programs at Ontario’s colleges to boost capacity in the system. The Grits also plan to enhance pay and benefits for early childhood educators (who currently earn on average less than $20 per hour) to bring them up to par with ECEs working in the school system, “while improving recruitment, retention and professional learning opportunities.”
The Liberals say the lower price will free up more parents to work, enabling approximately 130,000 parents, mostly mothers, to join the workforce full-time.
The goal is to create 30,000 new jobs for early childhood educators and other childcare centre staff, while 15,000 construction jobs will be needed to create new childcare spaces over three years in schools, workplaces and community spaces.
The Liberals say they will kill the Highway 413 project and re-invest the $8 billion saved into schools and to build new childcare centres in schools.