Insiders say Ottawa and Ontario officials will meet next week to make a daycare agreement

OTTAWA – The governments of Prime Minister Doug Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are finally settling down to formally negotiate a childcare agreement, Star has learned.

Federal and provincial officials will meet on Tuesday in an effort to implement an agreement that will keep Trudeau’s signature election promise to reduce daily daycare costs to $ 10 within five years.

Insiders in Queen’s Park and in Ottawa stress that they both want to reach an agreement. .

The talks will focus on whether the current offer from the federal government can meet the early learning and childcare needs of families in Ontario.

Ford, which has had informal talks with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, on Tuesday expressed concern that Ontario will be “shortened” by Ottawa’s $ 10.2 billion offer to a population of 14.8 million people.

By comparison, Alberta, home to 4.4 million people, received $ 3.8 billion.

In order for Ontario to receive the same amount per. per capita as Alberta, Ottawa should sweeten the pot by $ 2.6 billion – to $ 12.8 billion.

“We see these agreements concluded (with other provinces and) they are more per capita with (fewer) ties,” the prime minister said.

A federal source, speaking confidentially to discuss internal considerations, said Ottawa has not yet received a full proposal from Ontario, but called next week’s meeting “definite progress.”

The insider stressed that Ottawa hopes to negotiate an agreement as soon as possible with Queen’s Park.

Sources close to Ford stress that they also want a deal, but that Ontario’s full-time kindergarten for 260,000 four- and five-year-olds should be considered.

It costs the province $ 3.6 billion annually.

The news comes as Saskatchewan announced it would use money it received from Ottawa – under a $ 1.1 billion deal signed in August – to retroactively reduce fees for all families with children under the age of six who are in provincial licensed childcare.

Part of the federal-provincial childcare program set up by the federal liberal government with the 2021 budget is a requirement that the provinces reduce childcare fees by 50 percent by the end of 2022 and eventually reach $ 10 a day by 2026

Some provinces with signed agreements are already moving faster to pass on the benefits.

Alberta on Monday signed an agreement promising to introduce the fee reduction in January.

At a Facebook Live event with parents in Saskatchewan and early childhood educators Friday, Federal Minister for Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould said her own son is in day care, so she understood how important it is to expand affordability and accessibility.

Gould, a Burlington MP, said last month after she was appointed minister responsible for completing the system that she received texts from a friend who told her that if she could get $ 10 daily care, the friend could get another child because she “might be able to afford.”

In some day care institutions in the Greater Toronto area, parents spend as much as $ 70 a day.

Robert Benzie is the bureau chief of Star’s Queen’s Park and a reporter covering politics in Ontario. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

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