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Some licensed child-care operators reluctant to opt-in for $10-a-day program

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Licensed child-care facilities in London, Ont. are now able to opt-in for the Canada-wide $10-a-day program next week.

The program will offer $10-a-day child care by September 2025 to children under the age of six.

Ontario is the last province to make a deal with Trudeau's $30 billion national child-care program which is valued at $13.2 billion over six years.

While $10-a-day child care sounds like a positive step forward, some parents are waiting to see if they’ll reap the benefits

“I think there's not a lot of information about how it's going to be put in place and how they're going to move forward with it,” said Yvonne Morton, a mother of two. "There's a lack of information.”

Though many parents are eager to start paying less, some child care operators are worried about the repercussions that will follow if they choose to opt-in to the program.

Nicole Blanchette is the executive director of La Ribambelle, which has multiple preschool centres in London.

“We’re very concerned as to how much flexibility we will have to manage our own business if the city is going to control how much money comes in," she said.

"We're going to be limited as to how much we can increase our fees and we are wondering about what kind of salary we can give to our staff now.”

Earlier this year the federal government promised the creation of 250,000 new childcare spaces across the country by March 2026.

While child-care operators like Blanchette do not believe there are enough space or childcare educators to fulfill the government's goal.

“I know it was a promise made in March, saying by April 1 parents will get a reduction but it's a process that takes a long time," Blanchette said.

Once approved, eligible families can expect a 25 per cent reduction retroactive to April 1 as early as September. A final reduction in September 2025 will bring fees down to an average of $10 per day.

The City of London is giving licensed child care centres until Sept. 1 to apply to the program.

Trevor Fowler, the director of child care and early years, social and health development with the City of London told CTV News that the city plans to discuss the program details with licensed childcare centres soon, in order to help them decide whether they will opt in or out.

“What we heard early on what that child care operators knew full well the benefits of increased affordability for families and that they wanted to understand the program details and how we’re going to be implanting it locally,” said Fowler.

According to the city, once applications are reviewed and approved, the city will set up a funding agreement with the organization. The childcare centre can then begin to issue retroactive fee rebates to families and begin charging reduced fees going forward.

"This system needs child care operators, it depends on them,” Fowler said. “So we really see ourselves as partners in developing an even stronger childcare and early year sector.” 

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