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Toronto rejects proposal to eliminate daycare occupancy grants in 2017

Click to play video: 'Toronto mayor rejects plan to squash childcare occupancy grants' Toronto mayor rejects plan to squash childcare occupancy grants
WATCH ABOVE: Toronto mayor rejects plan to squash childcare occupancy grants – Feb 6, 2017

Parents of children in school-based daycares are breathing a sigh of relief after the City of Toronto announced Monday it has rejected a proposal to eliminate occupancy grants in 2017.

Mayor John Tory told reporters during a press conference at John A. Leslie Childcare Centre in Scarborough that the cost to fund the grants will be absorbed in this year’s budget with the hope that future funding would be covered by the provincial government in subsequent years.

“What we’re now doing is continuing the $1.13 million itself for the grant so we can see what the province intends to do about that money going forward,” Tory said. “We didn’t want to have those parents adversely affected at a time when we’re trying to benefit the most needy parents.”

WATCH: Toronto stops proposed plans to cut childcare occupancy grants. Marianne Dimain reports. (Feb. 6)

Click to play video: 'Toronto stops proposed plans to cut childcare occupancy grants' Toronto stops proposed plans to cut childcare occupancy grants
Toronto stops proposed plans to cut childcare occupancy grants – Feb 6, 2017

As part of the city’s 2017 budget process, the proposal to phase out the occupancy grants, which help cover rent in 350 on-site daycare centres at local schools, would have forced parents of 4,200 children to pay over $350 more in child care fees annually.

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The news came as a shock to middle income parents who don’t receive additional subsidies for child care.

READ MORE: Toronto mayor urges Ontario premier for more child care funding

In January, Tory announced the city would invest $3 million to create 300 new child care subsidies but outrage ensued after it was announced a portion of the funds would have come from the proposed phasing out the occupancy grants.

In a letter addressed to Premier Kathleen Wynne on Sunday, Tory said the current state of child care “can no longer be business as usual” with more than 18,000 children currently on wait lists.

READ MORE: Parents urge Toronto city council not to slash child care grants

“I take some heart that the premier has said earlier on that she’s made a promise to create 100,000 new child care spaces. We’re very unclear of what that means,” he said.

“We hope it means that they will not only take responsibility for some of the capital involved in creating those spaces, but also for some of these ‘operational daily funding pressures’ that happen.”

WATCH: What does it take to start a daycare? Tom Hayes explains. (Feb. 6)

Click to play video: 'What does it take to start a daycare?' What does it take to start a daycare?
What does it take to start a daycare? – Feb 6, 2017

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