A new study released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) has revealed that the most expensive city in Canada for child care is Toronto.
According to the study, a Toronto couple with a toddler and a preschooler can expect to pay $28,300 annually in child care fees. In fact, another six Ontario cities rank high on the list: Markham, Ottawa, Vaughan, Mississauga, Brampton and London all rank high on the list.
Conversely, the lowest fees were found in Quebec, specifically in Gatineau, Laval, Montreal, Longueuil and Quebec City, where parents pay an average of $174 a month.
This is the second year in a row that CCPA has noted Toronto for having the highest child care fees for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
To determine its findings, researchers looked at median unsubsidized child care fees in Canada’s biggest cities. While the daycare systems and cost varied dramatically across the country, the study found that on average “child care is expensive and regulated spaces are hard to find.”
“There is a huge variation in the cost of child care between Canadian cities, which verges on the absurd when you compare the $987 per month Ottawa parents pay for a preschool space that costs just $174 per month across the river in Gatineau,” CCPA Senior Economist David Macdonald said in a press release.
The Quebec cities offer the most affordable care thanks to its $7 per day daycare. However, despite the low cost, the daycare system still faces the same problems as those in other provinces: there simply isn’t enough space and waiting lists are long.
Vancouver mom Megan Hooft told Global News that her one-year-old son Grayson has been on a waiting list since he was born. As a result, she’s had to work from home and rely on her parents for help throughout the week.
But Hooft considers herself lucky. “I have friends here who don’t have parents or family in town; they don’t have that option,” she said.
As a result of the study’s findings, CCPA is calling for provinces to rethink their daycare systems. “While child care is a provincial responsibility, there is clearly room for federal co-ordination and funding to close the large differences in fees and availability across Canada,” Macdonald, CCPA Senior Economist, said.
“Being able to access affordable, high quality child care should not be an accident of birth. Instead, it should be available to all Canadian families.”