Three weeks after applications opened, only one of 65 eligible childcare providers in Waterloo region has signed on to the provincial rebate program to bring in $10-a-day child-care.
The deadline to apply is set for Sept. 1.
Some licensed child-care centres are expressing concerns and hesitations when it comes to signing up for the plan.
“There is an awful lot of what I would call ‘micro-management’ on the part of the government into child-care owner operators day to day operations,” said Andrea Hannen, executive director for the Association of Day Care Operators of Ontario. “So every item in your budget is going to be analyzed to see ‘oh are you spending too much?’”
“I think the deadline needs to be pushed back, and I think it’s unfortunate that the rebate for parents has been tied to each centre’s decision to participate or not,” said Hannen.
CTV News spoke to Waterloo region parents at a local park. One said it’s very important for them to receive the rebate because they are currently paying over $1,800 a month for child-care.
Carolyn Ferns, with Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care said “it’s not time to panic” over low sign up.
“The deadline is September first,” said Ferns. “As I understand it, from having spoken with child-care programs, there is some work to put into preparing their applications.”
Staffing issues combined with summer vacations and a lengthy paperwork process have been singled out as contributing factors to the lack of providers signing on.
“Most operators have said they anticipate applying between July 20 and Sept. 1,” said Barb Cardow, director of Children Services for the Region of Waterloo.
A few smaller centres spoke with CTV News, saying they do not want to go public with their decision yet, however, they will likely not be applying.
The YMCA is the province’s largest not-for-profit child-care provider, and it says its centre does plan to apply.
“We are planning on applying,” said Kim Decker, YMCA Cambridge CEO. “Yes, absolutely we do, I mean we are thrilled, this is a really good thing for parents.”
Decker added: “And then there’s a workbook that is about, I think 11-12 pages long that goes into great detail about our financial situation and the finances for each of the centres that we are applying for.”
The region said they continue to answer many daycare provider questions and are confident most daycares will end up applying.