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Ottawa, Ontario hail $1.9B child care deal [CA-ON]

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CBC News
Publication Date: 
6 May 2005

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Ontario and Ottawa on Friday announced an agreement in principle that will see almost $1.9 billion invested in the province's child care system over the next five years.

The money is part of the $5 billion Prime Minister Paul Martin promised to spend on child care during the last election campaign. The sum was also contained in February's budget, which has not yet been passed in Parliament.

The pending vote on the budget could bring down the Liberal minority government, precipitating new elections, but Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has said his party would honour Liberal commitments on child care if it was elected.

Martin, Federal Social Development Minister Ken Dryden and Ontario Children and Youth Services Minister Marie Bountrogianni were at a Hamilton day care on Friday to present the $1.9-billion agreement.

"Today is a day that shows why politics matter," Dryden said.

The deal follows similar agreements with Saskatchewan and Manitoba last week.

Among the remaining provinces, Quebec and Alberta have so far opted out of the new day-care scheme, saying they don't want the federal government to dictate to them how to spend the money. But Martin said that the agreement moved the country "significantly closer to fulfilling a shared vision for early learning and child care."

Under Friday's deal, the federal government would transfer an additional $272 million to Ontario in 2005, $253 million in 2006 and about $450 million annually for the following three years.

Bountrogianni said the money would make a huge difference in day-care spending for Ontario.

Bountrogianni said the federal funds would be spent on phase one of the province's Best Start Program.

That initiative would subsidize before- and after-school care for junior and senior kindergarten students. Ontario's Liberal government has said it would offer day care for all of the province's kindergarten-aged children by 2007.

The new federal money is in addition to federal funds already committed under the 2003 Multilateral Framework on Early Learning and Child Care.

- reprinted from CBC News

Entered Date: 
6 May 2005
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