Ontario Liberals’ Daycare Program is a key plank in Wynne’s plan to improve child care

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

About a third of parents are using child care in the province’s publicly funded daycare program, which opened its doors to all four-year-olds and six-year-olds in mid-January. The province has said it will gradually extend the program into the late 2020s and beyond.

But parents, many of them parents of children in daycare, are furious at the province and have launched a campaign to shut down the program.

“I don’t think there should be a daycare system in this province, and I don’t think there should be a child care system in this province,” said Mark Kupferman, a member of Toronto’s Community Council and a vocal opponent of the new program.

“I’ve been saying for a couple of years if we ever got to a daycare system in this province, it would be this (daycare program), and the parents are finally getting it,” he said.

The daycare program is a key plank in Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne’s plan to improve child care. At the heart of the plan, Wynne says, is improving Ontario’s aging and shrinking supply of full-time child care and using child care vouchers as a financial incentive for parents to take their children to daycare.

The Liberal government’s approach has provoked fierce debate among Conservatives, parents and even some members of Toronto’s Community Council.

The Liberals say the program will help families and the province, while conservatives, who say it will undermine families and cost thousands of dollars in child care.

The Ontario Liberals announced the start of the program when it was running the Liberals’ official campaign last spring and has been widely praised by parents as well as advocates, economists and the business community. The program has been described as a political success for a government that had promised to close the program and bring new parents into Ontario’s system

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