Toronto – February 26, 2019 – For many families in Canada, the monthly cost of child care for just one child is often higher than the mortgage or rent payment. While the call for a national universal child care system continues to go unanswered, a new study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives shows that government subsidies are starting to make a small impact, in some provinces, to lower the cost of child care. But it is slow progress, as parents in other provinces pay five to nine times as much compared to parents in Quebec, which offers the lowest median fees in the country because of the province’s long-standing commitment to subsidized child care
• Parents in Toronto face the highest annual average cost for infant childcare (a child under the age of 18 months), at $1,685 a month / $20,220 a year.
• The lowest average infant child care fee is in Montreal: $175 a month / $2,100 a year. Quebec continues to lead the country in more affordable child care because fees are set and subsidized by the government for most of the spaces.
• Prince Edward Island and Manitoba have also introduced a set fee system that applies to at least 65% of the provinces’ child care spaces. Monthly infant care in Winnipeg is $651 a month, and $738 a month in Charlottetown at centres that fall under the set fee system.
• British Columbia, Alberta, and Newfoundland and Labrador have also recently introduced set fees for a limited number of spaces in those provinces. This partially explains why median preschool fees in St. John’s, NL have dropped 13% since 2018, and went down 6% in Edmonton, Alberta.
• Yet, in 17 of Canada’s largest centres, the cost of child care continued to rise higher than the rate of inflation in 2018.
• When it comes to toddler care (18 months to 3-years-old), Quebec continues to lead with the most accessible fees at about $175 a month.
• The highest median toddler fees are in Vancouver at $1,407 a month / $16,884 a year.
• Preschool children (ages 2.5 to 5-years-old) make up the largest category of child care, comprising almost two-thirds of all centre-based spaces.
• Many parents face hefty waitlist fees in many Canadian cities. More than 40% of centres in Edmonton and Calgary charge parents to put their child on a wait list. While Ontario has banned wait list fees, some centres in that province have swapped this demand with a first-month’s fee deposit.
SOURCE: Macdonald D. & Friendly M. (2019). Developmental Milestones: Child care fees in Canada’s big cities 2018 (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives). Retrieved from www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/developmental-milestones