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The Decay of our Childcare System Part One: The Cost

December 10, 2011

I don’t actually have a child in the childcare system, but if I did, it is likely that I would be waiting several years–maybe even five years, to get that child into that daycare in my city. Over the years, childcare in Toronto has been declining. In 2007, Toronto Star asked mothers how they felt about Toronto’s childcare system. It was reported 87% replied negatively. With over 20,000 families waiting for childcare subsidies and another 2,000 spots cut just only a month ago–things are definitely going downhill.

When women get pregnant in crowded and busy cities, they don’t realize how long they may have to wait for a spot in a daycare. In September 2011, the Toronto Star reported 400 daycares in Toronto (serving 25,000 children) are in big trouble and the centres need 27.3 million dollars to renovate their spaces to accomodate more children. But the City only alloted them 2.8 million in capital funding. These 400 centres are in Toronto’s neediest areas, and an estimated 2,600 subsidies will be lost.

I did some digging myself to find out, if I hypothetically had a child, how much it would cost to send him/her to daycare in my own Forest Hill neighbourhood (of course, each website cited their long wait lists, as well).

At West Prep Childen’s Centre (only two blocks away) the monthly cost is $726.00 for a pre-schooler.

At Five Peas in a Pod (one block away), the monthly cost is $725.00 for a pre-schooler.

For nursery at the Waldorf Academy, it was $14,425 a year.

At the Forest Hill Montessori School, the fee was just over $11,000 with a $2,000 registration fee.

Nannies in the area average $1600 a month, and a sketchy online ad boasted two available daycare spots for $500 a month.

The point is, daycare in Toronto is expensive and hard to find. From $50 to $85 to be on a miserable waiting list while your baby isn’t even born yet, to paying $75 a day for care–even if it includes long commutes is the reality of a big portion of parenthood in the City. This is the plight of middle-class families, the stories are even more dismal with those waiting for the far and few inbetween subsidized spots. Many of these families have more than one child, paying between $10,000-$18,000 a year per child for a spot. That costs way more than my own tuition!

How does childcare add up in different parts of North America and the Western world? In Queens, New York the average cost of daycare reported in 2011 is between $250-$300 a month.

The NACCRRA reports up to $2,000 a month for centre-based infant care in San Francisco, California (from 2011).

In Oregon, paying fees similar to Toronto ($788) is not unheard of.

In Chelsea, England, you are paying around 152 pounds a week. The most expensive daycares were in London and the Southeast where parents paid around 202 pounds a week, reported by BBCNews.

In Sweden, there is a policy where parents only pay between 1% to 3% of their income on childcare (Lucky Swedes!!!!)



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