Toronto Mayor John Tory says provincial funding cuts for child care subsidies will be less than the city expected.
Tory made the announcement in a statement Saturday morning, saying, “Although no reduction in funding would be best, we now have been notified that we won’t lose as much, now only $2 million – $5 million.”
In Ontario, families who wish to get subsidies for child care have to apply through their local municipality.
A report from Toronto’s Economic and Community Development Committee previously indicated the city was expected to lose $15 million in funding in 2020 for child care subsidies for low-income families under a new provincial funding model.
Mayor Tory suggested that the latest funding amount came as a result of discussions between city staff and the provincial government.
“From the beginning, we felt that a number of the cuts that were made were just ill-advised and that included child care. I pushed back on those as did our staff and they had discussions with the province,” Tory said at an unrelated event Saturday morning.
“It’s progress, but there’s more work to be done in convincing all the governments that they should be stepping up and making sure that they bring about no reductions in child care funding and, if possible, increase the funding.”
However, Alexandra Adamo, a spokesperson for Education Minister Stephen Lecce’s office, told Global News on Saturday the $15 million loss estimate was never accurate.
The Ford government announced changes to funding for child care spaces in the spring, saying the province would only provide 80 per cent of funding starting in 2020 and leave the rest up to municipalities. The province previously funded 100 per cent.
Adamo said the province is sticking with that plan and released funding amounts to municipalities on Friday. She said any funding estimates under the new plan made prior to Friday may have been premature.
Adamo also said the province had previously provided 80 per cent of funding for child care spaces under the previous Liberal government, except for in the two years leading up to the 2018 election.
Toronto city councillors Joe Cressy and Mike Layton, however, doubled down on claims that Toronto will be seeing a $15-million child care funding cut, but now say the city will experience that figure in 2021.
“Starting in 2021, the provincial government will continue with their short-sighted, at least $15 million annual cut to low-income child care subsidies, which would impact 760 children,” they said in a statement.
Adamo responded by saying, “No year will have a $15 million reduction. In years two and three the reductions are in administration and not operating funding.”
This comes one day after Lecce announced that the province’s public and private sectors created over 19,000 licenced child care spaces in 2018-19.
The minister’s office also said the government will commit up to $1 billion in funding over five years, which they claim will create 30,000 new child care spaces in schools across Ontario.
— With files from Matthew Bingley