Issue: Child care demands far outstrip supply
Ontario families face enormous challenges in finding and paying for early childhood education and care (ECEC) services. The province has the highest child care fees in Canada – with Ontario parents paying an average of $1,236 per month for infant care and as much as $1,758 in Toronto. These prohibitive costs can have various economic and social consequences – particularly for low income families. Although Ontario’s child care subsidy system is comparatively generous and accommodates a wider range of incomes than in other provinces, it is not an entitlement and families can wait a long time to secure a subsidy. Research has demonstrated that addressing high costs and long waitlists for ECEC services can improve childhood outcomes and also maternal labour market participation.
In a policy brief prepared by Sarah Kaplan, Michal Perlman, Jamison Steeve, Petr Varmuza and Linda White, they recommended that the Ontario government will need to enact a robust strategy to expand access to high-quality, affordable child care – including (1) a path to oversight and licensing of unlicensed home child care providers, (2) more seamless day programming at schools, (3) higher wages and better professional development for child care providers, and (4) an update to the current parameters of subsidy benefits including relaxing work requirements for low-income families.
Policy brief prepared by:
Sarah Kaplan, Michal Perlman, Jamison Steeve, Petr Varmuza and Linda White
Kaplan, S., Perlman, M., Steeve, J., Varmuza, P. and White, L. (2018). Early Childhood Education and Care – Transition Briefing. Ontario 360. Retrieved on [DATE] from https://on360.ca/30-30/early-childhood-education-and-care-transition-briefing/