When the Ford government announced it had reached a $13.2 billion deal with Ottawa to reduce the cost of childcare it suggested that some parents would begin to see rebate cheques as soon as May.
But in the Greater Toronto Area only one municipality has even begun to accept applications from operators and it says that it could still be weeks until it is in a position to disperse funds.
That, in turn, has left many parents wondering when they might see some financial relief.
Here is a rundown of where things stand across the GTA:
A spokesperson for the city says that a town hall session for licensed care operators is planned for June 22 and that the opt-in process will be launched on a yet-to-be disclosed date “later this month."
Shanley McNamee, who is Toronto’s General Manager of Children's Services, tells CP24.com that the delay in opening the application portal is due to a desire “to ensure that licensed child care operators, with and without an existing relationship with the city, have had an opportunity to participate in information sessions and town halls before submitting their intention to participate in the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care funding program.”
McNamee says that the city has already received the funding to administer the program. She says that staff will be providing an information report to city council in July with further information.
A spokesperson says that the region has developed an online application for licensed child care operators to opt into or out of the Canada-Wide Early learning Child Care program that will go live the week of June 20. The region also held two virtual information sessions for operators last week and has posted an extensive fact sheet on its website. The spokesperson said that the delay in accepting applications was to allow staff time to review the provincial guidelines issued in April and develop processes to implement the program.
Durham’s opt-in process opened on June 6 but a spokesperson tells CP24.com that approvals will only begin in July after Regional Council formally signs off on the program at the end of this month. The spokesperson says that information sessions for all licenced childcare providers in the region were already held on May 18 and again on June 6. Updates have also been provided to operators through the Early Learning Update Newsletter, which is posted publicly.
The region is planning to hold a technical session for operators on June 20 to explain the opt-in and opt-out process. It will then open up the application process the following day on June 21. A spokesperson says that an initial information session was also held on June 1.
A spokesperson says that operators should be able to submit applications “in the coming weeks,” however they caution that applications will not be reviewed until “late summer/early fall.” The delay in opening applications is being attributed to the need to “develop supporting policies and procedures and to finalize the application process,” the spokesperson said. Any updates on the administration of the program, including when the application portal opens up, will be posted to Halton Region’s website.