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Simcoe County childcare operators concerned about opting-in to Ontario's $10-a-day program

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Arsalides, Mike
Publication Date: 
23 Aug 2022


Kim Yeaman says skyrocketing costs while rates at her Innisfil childcare centre have been frozen makes it difficult to opt-in to Ontario's $10-a-day program.

"It's a great announcement as long as the parents are supported and childcares are supported," says Yeaman, Simcoe Childcare Services director of children's services.

"We would have to raise our fees by about 10 per cent to be able to pay for our expenses," she adds.

Yeaman is one of roughly 54 per cent of the county's 200 licenced childcare providers yet to sign up for the province's plan, saying that from a business perspective, the numbers just don't add up without more financial support.

The Association of Independent Childcare Centres says it is reviewing the province's latest 63-page document, looking for answers on how funding will break down in 2023.

The local program runs through the County of Simcoe as its service system manager.

"Some licensed childcare operators have expressed concern that even with the Ministry of Education's revised revenue replacement model, they may not be able to cover their actual expenses," says Samantha Zuercher, County of Simcoe Early Learning and Childcare manager.

"The County will work with licensed childcare operators to manage additional costs where possible to support continued participation in the Canada Wide Early Learning and Child Care program," says Zuercher.

The County says it's been listening to concerns from licenced childcare operators and presenting the issues to the province.

"Really, a lot of the concerns that we have been hearing were addressed in the changes that the Ministry of Education made last week, and so they are still looking for some clarification or greater understanding of how it impacts them before making a decision," Zuercher says, adding many more operators plan to submit their applications to opt-in.

"I think it's good news for parents. It's good with respect to the affordability in the access, and there is an intention we're focusing on the affordability and the access and the quality of care that is being provided," she notes.

Childcare operators who haven't signed into the plan say they fear the quality of care will ultimately be impacted.

The province extended the deadline to opt-in or out from Sept. 1 to Nov. 1.

Still, many operators say more questions remain than answers from the government.