Ontario weakened its $10-a-day child care funding rules. Now the federal government is demanding answers.
Riley Stearns is a New York writer and editor. In 2015, after reporting in several cities around the world, he joined the Toronto Star as national editorial director, overseeing editorial coverage across all platforms and special projects.
By Riley Stearns, Published August 22, 2016
Last week, the federal government announced an investigation into Ontario’s new “child-care funding” rules.
The government has asked all the provinces and territories to assess whether they’ve strengthened or weakened their own child-care funding schemes. The federal inquiry’s deadline is the end of September.
If provinces’ systems aren’t up to scratch, then the federal government will make them better.
Why? Because the federal government believes that quality child care is a key plank in our ability to improve the lives of our kids. The money we pay for child-care supports the work our kids are already doing on a daily basis, and keeps them in touch with their world. We do it in every province and territory.
That is why the federal government doesn’t want to see kids living in poverty and families struggling to pay their bills. And that is why the government is hoping to improve the quality of care they receive.
But it’s hard to make sense of the investigation. What will the results of the inquiry hold for children and families who need child-care assistance, and the broader public? And does the government have any tools or plans to address this ongoing injustice?
This is where we get to the heart of what’s driving the federal government’s interest in our province’s child-care funding system.
The federal government’s inquiry isn’t about child care. It’s about child-care funding rules. Because those rules ensure that the best care available is paid for.
The report is about whether Ontario’s system for funding child-care was properly set up. And the rules it has been set up under aren’t just an “overlaid set of rules” for funding services. They are the foundations of Ontario’s child-care funding system.