Excerpt from the Budget Papers:
In the 2005 Budget, the Ontario Government began Best Start, an ambitious plan to ensure that children arrive ready to learn on their first day at school in Grade 1. Best Start was to fund 25,000 new licensed child care spaces by 2007&em;08 and make child care more affordable to thousands of low- and middle-income families through expanding and redesigning child care fee subsidies. Ontario achieved significant progress in 2005&em;06 in implementing its Best Start vision. Municipalities have already received sufficient funding to create over 14,000 new licensed child care spaces and a significant number of new subsidies to assist parents with the cost of licensed care. To support the Best Start vision, the Province signed the Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) agreement with the federal government that was to provide Ontario with $1.9 billion over five years. Regrettably, the new federal government has given notice to terminate this agreement, taking away $1.4 billion intended for child care spaces and fee subsidies for working families. Without sustained federal support, the Province cannot enhance and expand the child care system as originally planned. As stated in the 2005 Budget, "Without these federal transfers, Ontario will not be able to move aggressively in investing in this important area." Given the elimination of federal ELCC funding after 2006&em;07, the Province will use the final federal payment to support the child care system. The government will allocate $63.5 million per year over the remaining life of the original agreement, from 2006&em;07 to 2009&em;10. The Province will also work with municipalities to continue to urge the federal government to reconsider and honour the ELCC agreement.