Images are unavailable offline.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, right, watch Karina Gould, second left, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development of Canada and Stephen Lecce, second right, Ontario Minister of Education officially sign an agreement in $10-a-day child-care program deal in Brampton, Ont., on March 28.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Ontario’s deal with the federal government to introduce $10-a-day child care includes a promise to create 86,000 licensed spaces, but advocates say that may not be enough to meet demand.

Gordon Cleveland, a child-care policy expert and associate professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, says when fees are cut in half at the end of this year, the province will need an additional 200,000 spaces.

He says that will rise to 300,000 spaces by the time fees in Ontario are on average $10 a day in 2025.

Story continues below advertisement

Ontario signs on to long-awaited federal $10-a-day child-care deal

The 86,000 promise includes 15,000 spaces that have already been created since 2019, so Ontario is not starting from scratch, but Andrea Hannen, the executive director of the Association of Day Care Operators of Ontario says demand could rise quite rapidly and it can take between six months and two years to create a new space.

Hannen, whose association represents commercial and not-for-profit independent centres, says the fact that Ontario’s deal includes both not-for-profit and for-profit spaces in the 86,000 will make it easier to create spaces than in jurisdictions where it’s limited to not-for-profit.

Morna Ballantyne, the executive director of advocacy group Child Care Now, says Ontario needs more than 86,000 new spaces, but it will be difficult to recruit and retain staff even for those spots, with an initial minimum wage for registered early childhood educators of $18 an hour.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.