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85 per cent of Simcoe County's child care providers opt-in to $10/day program


Child care providers across Ontario have until the end of the day to opt-in for the national $10-a-day program.

According to Simcoe County, 85 per cent of its more than 200 child care providers have submitted applications for the program.

"We know how important this is for parents and what kind of help that will give them in their household financially," said Kim Yeaman, director of Simcoe Childcare Services.

The province extended the deadline from Sept. 1 to Nov. 1 to allow operators more time to sign up.

For Yeaman, that meant deciding to submit an application. For parents like Michelle Maldonado, it means a 25 per cent reduction in fees retroactive to April 1.

By the end of the year, fees are set to reduce by an average of 50 per cent, with a goal of $10 per day by 2025.

"When it comes through, it will make a huge difference for us on our monthly budget," said Maldonado.


But there is still a sense of uncertainty around Ontario's rollout, with funding guidelines for 2024 yet to be released.

Operators like Yeaman express concerns over future rising costs and inflation.

"March 2020, when COVID started, our fees were frozen, and they were frozen for a long time," said Yeaman. "During COVID, we received an enormous amount of support from all levels of government, so we never raised our fees. Now we are expected to run our child cares and be financially responsible with October 2022 expenses which everybody knows is much higher than it used to be."

Although there is no guarantee, the County said there is a process in place to work through those details.

"We recognize the cost of care is not declining or remaining static, so they do need to reach out to us to go through the process so that we can review what the additional costs are and provide the funding to cover all the reasonable expenses," said Samantha Zuercher, Simcoe County's early learning and child care manager.

Those negotiations, Yeaman said, still need to happen before she makes her final decision.

"I do not want to lessen the quality of my program, the quality of my food, the quality of what we do here too, so that funding really has to cover those expenses," said Yeaman. "I can't run a child care at a loss and still survive."

The County said there is still an approval process for providers who submitted an application.

"Within a certain period of time, we will get back to them to confirm if they are eligible or not and within an additional period of time, at most, it would be 30 days to confirm what their funding is and to provide them with a funding agreement," said Zuercher.

Providers who don't opt-in by the deadline can choose to do so next year, and those who do opt-in can opt-out at any time.

Ontario was the last province to ink a deal with Ottawa as part of its $30 billion national child care program. Top Stories

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