It will take longer than the planned three years to implement full-day learning for four- and five-year-olds in Ontario, Premier Dalton McGuinty said yesterday as he admitted he did not know how much the plan would cost.
“(I) don’t know. It’ll cost a lot of money,” McGuinty said about his government’s plan to eventually turn some schools into one-stop family centres that include everything from daycare to employment services.
The premier said the Liberal government has allocated $500 million over two years to start phasing in optional, all-day kindergarten in 2010, but it has to keep the recession in mind so it’s unknown exactly how long it will take to fully implement the plan.
“It’s hard to say at this point,” McGuinty told reporters after visiting students at Holy Angels elementary school.
“We are required to take into account our economic circumstances (so) it could be longer than three years.”
Charles Pascal, the government’s early learning adviser, estimated the cost of the early learning program at full implementation could be $1 billion.