In Lanark County, Ontario, a rural community just outside Ottawa, some 300 families were recently cut from the federal government’s $10-a-day child-care program. Their only offence was choosing a licensed home child-care agency run as a small business.

Just two weeks before the start of the school year, Lanark County terminated its contract with the Natural Connections home child-care agency in favour of its primary competitor, a non-profit with close ties to the public sector. When parents tried to speak with the public officials involved, they hit a brick wall. “The lack of transparency and accountability here is shocking,” said one working mom, who asked that her name not be published due to fear of reprisal for speaking out.

Indeed. It’s hard to get answers when three taxpayer-funded bureaucracies—federal, provincial, and municipal—are involved. Turning to the elected governments that are supposed to be directing these bureaucracies has also proven ineffective. Child care is a difficult file for most politicians to master, and to be fair, it is very complicated.

It has become even more so since the federal government launched the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care program (CWELCC), ostensibly to get more women into the paid labour force after COVID.

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