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Simcoe Muskoka families to benefit from new Ontario child care deal

Staff at some Simcoe Muskoka child care centres call the Ontario/federal child care deal a "major win" for families.

Simcoe Muskoka YMCA's vice president said she believed the government's deal would also have a "positive impact" on the economy.

"This deal coming out of the pandemic, I think, will allow for families to be able to make decisions around returning or staying in the workforce," said Fiona Cascagnette.

On Monday, the province signed a deal with the federal government reducing child care fees by 50 per cent by the end of the year and rebates retroactive to April 1 for parents.

In a news release, the provincial government said the deal would result in an average of $10 a day for child care by September 2025.

Sara Lindgren is a mom to two young boys and said the deal was a long time coming.

"Families have been dying for this," said Lindgren, who admitted she has had to cut corners to afford child care. "It'll be astronomical for our family."

"It took time to get here, but we landed a positive outcome for families," said Education Minister Stephen Lecce in an interview with CTV News.

Lecce explained that parents would receive the benefit if their child care operator enrolls in the program.

"The parent doesn't have to opt-in. Once their [child care] operators are in the national program with Ontario, they automatically receive the benefit of 25 per cent upfront and then 50 per cent on average by December, by Christmas of this year."

Several local centres said they would be willing to sign up for the program.

"I think you'll see a lot of families turning to choose licensed child care. We've already had some calls today from informal child care providers inquiring about how they can come on board as a licensed provider," said Wee Watch Simcoe County supervisor Cathy Power.

The average cost of child care per day is roughly $60, with staff calling the deal "monumental."

"Families need to be able to choose a childcare centre that fits their philosophy, that fits their location and their budget," said Discovery Child Care Centre director Karen Eilersen.

While the move is positive for many families, several local child care centres are still battling staffing shortages that many say would impact the number of new spaces available.

With files from CTV Toronto's Phil Tsekouras Top Stories

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