In a morning video call to media prior to his visit to Kingston on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, Ontario Liberal Leader, Steven Del Duca, called on Doug Ford to include childcare in his Fall Economic Statement on Thursday. Joined by 12 liberal candidates for the upcoming provincial election, Del Duca said a Fall Economic Statement that doesn’t include childcare would be a failure for parents, children and Ontario’s economic recovery.
“Tomorrow’s Fall Economic Statement is Doug Ford’s last chance to show parents that he’s serious about delivering urgently needed affordable childcare,” said Del Duca. “Eight of the provinces and territories have already signed deals with the federal government, but Doug Ford has been dragging his feet and it’s costing parents thousands of dollars.”
“We proposed that that would be done if we’re elected next spring by the end of 2024. That requires the building out of and the locating of about 116,000 new spaces across the province,” he explained.
“It means that we have to have early childhood educators (ECEs) in place. That’s why we call for providing free tuition for those ECEs as they go through their training programs. We also call for putting the salary compensation in what’s known as the grid, putting ECEc working in our system on the same grid as what exists for those ECEs who work in full-day kindergarten today and a series of other measures.”
“At its core, the fundamentally most important part of our plan is urgent: let’s deliver universal licensed $10 a day childcare for Ontario’s families. We believe it can be done by the end of 2024 Doug Ford needs to get on this urgently,” Del Duca expressed.
“The pandemic has seen women forced out of the workforce in record numbers and our economy cannot recover without affordable childcare. It is time to get childcare done. Ontario’s moms and dads need help now.”
Asked about the recent announcement by Doug Ford that his government would increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, Del Duca said it was a desperate move by a desperate man.
“I don’t think Doug Ford has any credibility whatsoever when it comes to the minimum wage or when it comes to supporting workers. I think everybody in this province knows that we are six months away from the start of an election campaign. And so Doug Ford can see in not in the not too distant future he’s going to have to face the people of Ontario. And so now he’s desperately trying to make up for lost time to save his own political skin,” he said candidly.
“Here’s what I do know. Doug Ford made the decision along with the rest of his caucus to cancel the increases to minimum wage back in 2018; that means that over the past three and a half years if you’re in Ontario, if you’re in Kingston or here in Ottawa, and you’ve been earning minimum wage, that means Doug Ford essentially robbed you of more than $6,000 in earnings over the past three and a half years because he stubbornly chose to go in the wrong direction.”
Del Duca then pointed out that, “[Ford] did the same thing with paid sick leave and a whole series of other protections for workers that he got rid of before the pandemic.”
“Doug Ford does not care about a minimum wage earner. He doesn’t care about a living wage. He doesn’t care about workers in this province. He only cares about two things: helping his well-connected friends and saving his own political skin. That’s not leadership. It’s not competent. It’s not responsible, and the people of this province will have their chance to render their verdict come June 2 of next year,” the Liberal leader finished.
On Wednesday afternoon Del Duca hit the streets in Kingston for a door-to-door canvass with local Liberal candidate, Ted Hsu. The pair then visited Springer Market Square, where they greeted supporters and chatted with advocates of a provincial basic income program.
A media release by the Liberal party said that, “Ontario Liberals first called for a childcare deal to be signed in May, launching their own plan to deliver on $10/day childcare if Doug Ford refuses to. Since then, eight other provinces and territories have signed onto the federal plan, leaving families to continue shouldering the costs while Ford delays Ontario’s deal.”
The full recording of Del Duca’s press conference can be seen on YouTube.