North Bay City Council members will be asked to endorse a motion that originated in the City of St. Catharines supporting the National Child Care Program during Tuesday's regular meeting.
Announced in April, the federal government's initiative sets a goal of $10 a day child care within the next five years to "make life more affordable for Canadian families, create new jobs, grow the middle class, increase women’s participation in the workforce, and drive strong economic growth across the country."
The Liberal government expects the plan to reduce fees for parents with children in regulated child care by half, on average, by the end of 2022.
A letter sent by St. Catharines City Council makes a request to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and the provincial government to "take the necessary steps to work with the federal government on a bilateral agreement to ensure the new national child care program be made available to Ontarians."
The federal government has already reached child care agreements with B.C., Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, P.E.I., Saskatchewan, Yukon Territory, and Quebec.
The majority of the provinces have agreed to put to use an early learning and child care spending commitment of $34 billion in federal funding announced this year to lower parent fees by 50 per cent by the end of 2022 and to $10 a day by 2025-26 or sooner; improve the wages and working conditions of early childhood educators; and, publicly fund the expansion of not-for-profit and public child care.
The missive also calls on the Ford government to narrow its child care focus on "increased access, affordability, quality and responsiveness, all of which are essential to the COVID-19 pandemic response," and notes Ontario has "the most expensive child care in the country, presenting a financial hardship for many families and a barrier for women’s full economic participation."
The November 15, St. Catharines motion has also been circulated to other municipalities in Ontario, the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.
The original motion states the program "will bring transformative change to child care by lowering parent fees and expanding the supply of regulated not-for-profit and public child care in this country."
Moved by Coun. Bill Vrebosch and seconded by Coun. Johanne Brousseau, if passed, a copy of the local motion will be sent to Premier Doug Ford; Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Ontario NDP Party; Steven Del Duca, Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party; MP Anthony Rota; MPP Victor Fedeli; the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association; the Association of Municipalities of Ontario; and, the City of St. Catharines.
The Tuesday committee meeting has been cancelled. The child care motion appears on the agenda for the regular meeting of North Bay City Council, scheduled for Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.