Day Care Investments Pay Off.
According to a new report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), the cost of infant care in Toronto remains nearly 10 times the cost in Montreal, where Quebec's universal child care program is the least expensive in Canada.
In Toronto, the most expensive city for child care in Canada, fees run at roughly $1,675 per month for one child, compared to $175 in Montreal. Meanwhile, some Canadian provinces have undertaken steps to lower the cost and increase the availability of quality child care. Manitoba and Prince Edward Island have had set-fee child-care programs in place for years. Parents in Winnipeg pay about $650 a month for infant care, while those in Charlottetown pay about $740.
The fifth annual CCPA report, according to co-author and CCPA senior economist David Macdonald, reflects some "really interesting new changes with several important provincial initiatives backed, to some degree, by federal money."
Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta and B.C. have all recently announced measures to lower child-care costs. The Newfoundland program will see about half the centres in St. John's converted to a new set-fee system. Alberta recently piloted a new $25-per-day system in Calgary and Edmonton.
B.C.'s initiatives include a $10-a-day prototype program at 53 locations, across-the-board fee reductions at licensed child-care centres of up to $350 a month and a universal income-tested subsidy that applies to families with earnings up to $111,000 a year.
Despite of some improvements, the CCPA reports that child-care costs have risen faster than inflation in 61 percent of Canadian cities and that wait lists are still common.
Child care is often "the second biggest expense for parents after rent or mortgage," Macdonald noted.
by PENNI MITCHELL