Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Releases new Child Care Study

“Child care fees in most of Canada are too expensive for low- and middle-income families alike”

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives 2017 report Time Out: Child Care Fees in Canada 2017, confirms that child care parent fees are rising – up to 10 times the rate of inflation in some cities – and that regulated child care continues to be very expensive.

Study Highlights:

  • Preschooler spaces, the most numerous type, have a median fee in Toronto of $1,212 a month, but close behind at around $1,000 a month are: Mississauga (ON), Brampton (ON), Vaughan (ON), Markham (ON), London (ON), Ottawa (ON), Calgary (AB), Richmond (BC), Kitchener (ON) and Vancouver (BC);
  • Since 2014, preschool fees rose the most in Toronto, six times faster than inflation (21.4%). Since 2016, Richmond (BC) saw the biggest hike in preschool fees: up 12%, or 10 times faster than inflation;
  • Cities in Quebec continue to have the lowest fees across all age categories: $168 a month in Montreal and $183 a month in Gatineau, Laval, Longueuil, and Quebec City;
  • New data for rural Ontario and Alberta show fees in those areas are not significantly cheaper than in nearby cities;
  • The lowest fees are consistently in the cities of Quebec, Winnipeg, Charlottetown, and First Nations communities. Here governments set low fees and provide direct grants to providers, using public policy to prioritize affordable child care;
  • Most of the cities surveyed reported that at least 70% of child care centres maintained waiting lists, although wait list fees are on the decline.

Morna Ballantyne, Executive Director of Child Care Now, says the findings show the need for swift government action to make licensed child care affordable and accessible to all children.

“The only way to make child care affordable for parents is to for governments to direct sufficient funding to licensed facilities and agencies, and to regulate and cap fees,” said Ballantyne. “Parent fees in Quebec, Manitoba and PEI are lower because child care funding and policies are designed to give that result.”

Child Care Now reiterated its appeal to the federal government to take all necessary steps to ensure that its National Early Learning and Child Care Framework delivers affordable, high-quality child care.

“A child’s access to licensed child care should not be determined by place of birth,” said Ballantyne.” All children have a right to quality child care regardless of their where their parents live, and how much they can pay.” said Ballantyne.

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