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London opens application for $10-a-day child-care funding

File photo dated 24/01/16 of a preschool age child playing with plastic building blocks. (C) PA Photos Limited [2001] all rights reserved

The City of London has launched the application for licensed child-care operators to opt into the $10-a-day child-care funding program.

Child-care operators have until the provincial deadline of Sept. 1 to confirm their intentions to participate.

The program only applies to licensed child-care providers. Unlicensed care is not eligible.

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Trevor Fowler, the director of child-care and early years at the City of London, says both center-based and home-based sites can apply as long as they’re licensed.

“We’ve been working with operators… We’ve had conversations (and) focus groups to talk about what operators need to thrive under this new system so families (can) benefit from the increased affordability,” he said.

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The application process for operators has opened and the City says they’ll work to review and approve applications.

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Once approved, an operator has 60 days to refund families 25 per cent of fees paid retroactive to April 1 for eligible children. The retroactive date means the child doesn’t have to be currently attending child care for families to be eligible for the fee rebate.

Fees moving forward are also set to be reduced.

“The provincial commitment is a further 25 per cent by (the end of) 2022 and building on further reductions to hit that target of an average of $10 child care by 2024/2025,” Fowler said.

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In terms of how much money Londoners can expect to save, Fowler says it depends on how much they’re currently paying.

“If you take an infant space, let’s say, $60 per day, (during) this first phase of reduction, they’re going to start paying $45 per day,” he explained. “Where they end up is a function of what they pay to begin with, which does vary.”

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Fowler adds the system will look different in a few years and that families can expect change.

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“This is a long-term transformational thing. The child-care system will look fundamentally different by 2025/2026,” he said. “As the City, we’re working with operators to make this as successful as possible and maximize the impacts it’s going to have.”

In London and Middlesex, there are around 72 center-based operators.

— With files from 980 CFPL’s Mike Stubbs, Maya Reid, Trudy Shaw and Global News’ Caryn Lieberman

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