New report says Toronto is the most expensive city in the country for child care
Hilary Caton, CTV News Toronto
Published Tuesday, December 12, 2017 6:58PM EST
A report released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Tuesday suggests Toronto parents are digging deep into their wallets when it comes to paying for child care in the city.
Families in the city are paying the highest child care rates in Canada at an average of $21,096 a year and the costs are climbing six times faster than the rate of inflation, according to the report.
“It sucks because it makes having children a privilege, right? Because not everyone can afford it,” Toronto mom Rebecca Nmezi told CTV News Toronto.
Nmezi decided to stay at home with her 10-week-old daughter and two-and-half-year-old son. She’s currently on maternity leave from her job as a hairstylist and would like to return to work, but the cost of child care is more than her pay cheque.
“It wouldn’t be worth it. I don’t think I would make enough to justify going back to work,” said Nmezi
According to the report, Time Out, Child Care Fees in Canada 2017, the cost for parents to send a preschooler to daycare has gone up 21.4 per cent since 2014 in Toronto. The median cost in Toronto is now $1,212 a month; the cost to send a toddler to daycare is $1,354 a month; and the cost for an infant is $1,758 a month—the highest in the country.
Other GTA cities are charging similar prices to Toronto; Mississauga and Vaughan charge more than $1,400 a month for infants. In Brampton, Vaughan, Mississauga and Markham the cost of childcare for a preschooler is around $1,000 a month.
“It’s unaffordable now and it’s becoming more unaffordable,” said Martha Friendly, the co-author of the report.
The federal government has promised to ease the burden of paying thousands of dollars per child for those who can’t afford it by providing $7.5 billion over 11 years. The first installment is $500 million in 2017, with subsequent installments set to reach $870 million per year by 2026.
Families in Quebec shell out the least amount of cash when it comes to child care costs. According to the report, childcare costs an average of $168 a month in Montreal and $183 a month in Laval, Longueuil and Quebec City, which amounts to $2,016 and $2,196 a year, respectively.
Friendly added that aside from families living in Quebec, child care rates are high across the country. She said costs are “too high for people everywhere you go.”
“What the study really shows is you can make child care affordable through public policy. The way you do it is to fund the services the way they have in Quebec for some years and set an affordable fee as they do in Manitoba and P.E.I,” Friendly told CTV News Toronto.
The report, said Friendly, provides “some important answers” but insists governments have to “go further” to solve the problem of unaffordable child care.
“It needs to be a system not a market and we need a lot more public funding and it needs to be spent in the right way.”
-With files from The Canadian Press.