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Daycare expansion meets the axe [CA-ON]

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Miller frets over Ontario's missed goal
Kalinowski, Tess
Publication Date: 
24 Mar 2006

See text below.


Finance Minister Dwight Duncan confirmed what they have feared since Stephen Harper's Conservatives took power in Ottawa.

The cancellation of a national daycare plan worth $1.9 billion to Ontario means the province will fall far short of its goal to create 25,000 licensed daycare spaces by the end of the decade.

Without $1.4 billion of that money, the province will spread out the last $63.5 million instalment over the next four years to maintain the existing 14,000 spaces.

The news is particularly bad for Toronto, which, under a federal-provincial agreement, was to have had the entire amount this year, said the city's child advocate, Councillor Janet Davis.

Under the agreement, Toronto would have received 6,000 daycare spaces in its low-income areas over the next four years, she said. About 1,700 daycare spaces have been created in Toronto so far but now only 2,100 &emdash; a third of the original number &emdash; will ever materialize.

She said Ontario's decision was especially galling because the three opposition parties in Ottawa remain committed to child care as a national priority. "The province basically tossed in the towel," she said.

Toronto Mayor David Miller said the city would still be able to create new daycares in some of its poorest neighbourhoods, but not the 120 it was going to open.

"Because in our communities, families need to work. They need daycare to be able to work, and the 120 centres were going to meet a huge need across this city. We still need those centres," he said.

- reprinted from the Toronto Star