Ontario’s education minister says his government is willing to strike an affordable child care deal with federal liberals if that takes into account what it described as the province’s “unique” circumstances.

Stephen Lecce told a conference Monday that Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives were in discussions about a possible child care plan “in the last few hours” before federal elections were called on Sunday.

Federal Liberals have promised to spend $ 30 billion over the next five years to reduce child care costs to an average of $ 10 a day nationwide.

They had pledged to enter into bilateral agreements on that compromise with eight provinces and two territories before Parliament was dissolved.

But Ontario, Canada’s largest province, remained a notable obstacle, along with Alberta.

Lecce said Monday that he wants a child care arrangement to reflect the specific characteristics of Ontario, including the fact that a large percentage of Canadian children who require child care live in the province.

He said he would also want Ontario’s existing full-day kindergarten program, which incorporates elements of early learning, reflected in any final agreements.

“We are very committed to a good deal for Ontario, but it must respond to the unique advantages of this province,” Lecce said when asked if Ontario would reach an agreement on child care with federal liberals.

“What I can confirm to you is that we are open and actively interested in a program that achieves the imperative of affordability and accessibility, while ensuring an element of flexibility.”

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He added that Ontario would work on more affordable child care with whatever federal government is elected in September.

Federal Conservatives have said that if elected, they would scrap agreements signed with the provinces in favor of a refundable tax credit.

#Ontario open to childcare dealings with federal liberals, with some flexibility: Lecce. #Onpoli #CDNpoli #Child Care

The party says its proposed loan would cover up to 75 percent of child care costs for low-income families.

This Canadian Press report was first published on August 16, 2021.


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