A “confident” Prime Minister Doug Ford says an agreement with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to provide $ 10 a day childcare to Ontario families is “very, very close.”

In the wake of an exclusive story in the Star revealing that an agreement is imminent, Ford was asked on a Kenora radio station on Tuesday whether Ontarians “can be assured that it will come” now that every other province and territory has signed .

“Yes, you can be assured,” the prime minister told hosts Kim Leduc and Ken O’Neil V104.

“We went back and forth with the federal government. We’ve had good discussions, but I’m a business person. “I am not going to enter into an agreement just to make an agreement and we will be shortlisted,” he said.

“We are going to make sure that the federal government is a real partner. Not one-time funding. Not ‘here’s enough money for five years and then we take up’. “

With the emphasis on “we need consistent funding from the federal government” to keep affordable child care sustainable, Ford said negotiations with Ottawa were fruitful.

“We are very, very close to each other. “I am confident that we will enter into an agreement that will benefit everyone in Ontario,” he said.

“We will probably get there as soon as I talk to you.”

With Ontario the only way out to join a federal funding plan after Nunavut unveiled its agreement on Monday, pressure on Ford has increased.

Ottawa and Queen’s Park have been in talks for months about a federal plan that would give Ontario $ 10.2 billion to expand licensed nonprofit childcare facilities, which will halve average fees by the end of this year, and results in $ 10-per-day care within five years.

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As Ford emphasized on Q104, the only remaining obstacle is how long Ottawa will sustain its end of the bargain after the five-year deal expires.

Sources say federal officials have tried to allay these fears by proposing to either extend the length of the agreement or review funding after the third or fifth year of the agreement.

Queen’s Park is concerned that funding for the program may decline under a future federal government. Provincial officials note that federal health care payments have declined from a 50-50-decade split to a 22 percent share of Ottawa with the counties occupying the rest of the page.

A senior federal official, speaking confidentially to discuss internal deliberations, has insisted that no federal government of any political streak is likely to cancel an established program that helps women enter the workforce and stimulate economic growth.

Although Federal Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has vowed to scrap the $ 30 billion program – and instead give families up to $ 6,000 a year through a repayable tax credit – Tory provincial governments across the country have promised signature campaign of Trudeau’s Liberals accepted.

With Ford’s Tories facing voters in the June 2 election – and all provincial opposition parties endorsing the $ 10-a-day child care plan – there was pressure for Ontario to sign.

Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering politics in Ontario. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie


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