This week’s Ontario budget lays out historic plans to eliminate child care fees for parents with children aged 2.5 to four years, positioning them (and eager parents to be!) to save tens of thousands of dollars.
This is the boldest announcement in the 2018 Ontario budget, it’s well-supported by research, and will complement full-school-day kindergarten for four and five-year-olds that the Ontario Liberal government has already established.
It’s also a huge win for gender equality, and easing #CodeRed affordability challenges. By saving tens of thousands in child care fees, younger Ontarians will be better able to manage the harmful spike in home prices that have left behind earnings when many want to grow families — and that’s why we recommended investing in childcare directly to the Premier’s Office.
The back story
After previous successful collaborations between our movement and Premier Kathleen Wynne’s team on reforms to housing policy and retirement income, in December her office reached out to ask our opinion about what should be the next big priority for younger generations.
In addition to participating in Ontario’s provincial housing forum, lobbying the government to report on the age distribution of public spending, and our work that shows Ontario has Canada's second worst performing economy for younger people, we walked them through why child care is so important and followed up with additional meetings.
Are in order for long-time University of Toronto child care researcher Dr. Gordon Cleveland who penned the study that describes the plan adopted by the Ontario Liberals in their 2018 budget (check out his interview on Metro Morning), the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care, which has been advocating for universal, affordable, high quality child care since 1981, and to the many other child care advocates who helped lay the groundwork for this historic commitment.
It will take over two years for the new plan to begin, but research shows it takes time for a province to evolve from a patchwork of child care services to a properly functioning system. Younger Ontarians have good reason to be impatient with years of underinvestment in in child care, but with significant new funds firmly allocated, we all need to be patient for the new system to roll out.
A lot depends on the outcome of the 2018 provincial election. If the next government follows through and builds upon the child care investments announced this week, then many families will be on track to save thousands of dollars.
Throw in expanded parental leave and more flex time at work (the other key components of our New Deal for Families), and raising a family suddenly becomes a lot more doable.
Let’s do more
We want all young Canadians to be able to afford to have a family, should they so choose.
You can help by becoming a Gen Squeeze Member: