Champlain Township will participate in the new federal-provincial childcare subsidy program, as long as it makes financial sense. 

On August 11, township council approved a recommendation from Director of Daycare Services Jennifer Drury to join the program if a financial analysis being performed by the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) has favourable results. The deadline for Champlain Council to make a decision was September 1. 

On March 28, 2022, the governments of Ontario and Canada reached an agreement designed to ensure more affordable childcare. Average fees for participating licensed childcare programs will be lowered through a phased approach. Fees will be reduced by an average of 25 per cent for children under the age of six, retroactive to April 1, 2022. By the end of December 2022, fees at participating licensed facilities will be further reduced, on average, by 50 per cent. By September 2025, fees at participating licensed childcare facilities will decrease to an average of $10 per day.   

Champlain Township operates licensed daycare facilities at St. Jude Catholic School and École élémentaire catholique St-Grégoire in Vankleek Hill and at École élémentaire catholique St-Jean-Baptiste in L’Orignal.   

According to a report written by Drury, directors of municipal childcare departments from across the UCPR have met a few times since the federal-provincial agreement was reached to discuss its potential effects on local public childcare services. Drury indicated the intent of the program is to help subsidize existing childcare spaces and create more subsidized spaces.

The program is not intended to increase operational spending. However, the program will provide funding for the salaries of qualified Early Childhood Educators for all daycare spaces, and for administrative costs. That funding is intended to encourage parents to use the program and ensure it attracts qualified, high-quality staff. 

As for potential financial implications, Drury’s report explains the UCPR is determining what Champlain’s funding allocation from the program will be. The township has been assured there will not be significant financial implications for participating in the childcare program. If there is an indication of adverse financial implications, the township will then not participate.