Half of Toronto parents would choose licensed child care if it was affordable, new study shows.
By LAURIE MONSEBRAATEN Social justice reporter
If nothing is done to address Toronto’s ruinously high cost of daycare, there is no point in adding many more spaces, a ground-breaking city report warns.
Three-quarters of city families can’t afford licensed child care, according to the report, the first of its kind to quantify parent demand and affordability.
Middle-income families are least likely to use the service because they earn too much to qualify for fee subsidies but not enough to absorb the full cost of care, which can top $20,000 a year for infants and toddlers, says the report commissioned by the city to inform its daycare growth strategy.
Toronto’s child population is expected to jump by almost 23 per cent in the next 15 years.
But without lower fees or increased subsidies, there is little room to expand the city’s licensed child-care system, concludes the study led by University of Toronto economists Gordon Cleveland and Michael Krashinsky.
“Growth... requires addressing affordability,” the report says. “If policies that significantly reduce costs were implemented, Toronto would see dramatic increases in the demand for licensed child care and dramatic increases in parental employment.”
The report based its findings on three affordability scenarios, including offering fee subsidies to every parent who qualifies, capping fees at 10 per cent of household income or charging no more than $20 per day, per child.
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