The Liberals’ $10-a-day child care program has changed the parenting community

How intense pressure from for-profit daycares has transformed Ontario’s rollout of $10-a-day child care — and sparked a political standoff with the province’s top bureaucrat.

In 2015, the province made headlines by launching a $10-a-day child care program for young parents in the Toronto area. The program had not existed before, and it was supposed to be free. But the province’s then-cabinet minister, Lisa MacLeod, also pushed hard for a co-ordinated plan to ensure parents could continue to receive child care in their own homes if they chose.

The idea was met with fierce opposition from a number of parents who saw the government go overboard with its proposal. The program had come under fire before, as a report from the NDP’s child care committee pointed out the $10-a-day proposal was “costing too much for families, creating a new bureaucracy and undermining many local programs, and costing the treasury and the taxpayers more in the long run.”

“The Liberals have come out and said they are giving families choices,” said Karen Ross, whose 16-year-old daughter is a student at the Toronto Collegiate School, where she takes part in the university’s $200-a-year summer education programme.

“I get that,” she said, adding the province’s move was “a step in the right direction.”

But Ross, who has been involved in the day-to-day running of a single-parent household for decades, questioned the timing of the announcement.

“I don’t understand why they are coming out with this program now, when we are in the middle of the summer,” she said, noting she and many other parents didn’t expect the program to be implemented until the fall.

Ross, who lives in the suburb of Aurora, said the Liberal decision to launch the $10-a-day program had changed the dynamics of the parent community for good. “It changed the conversation, from ‘this is wrong’ to ‘this is the most wonderful program, so let’s continue it.’”

But a

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