By Alonzo Aldaba
Frances Nuyen has three children and says child care costs are almost as much as her salary. She welcomes the announcement that Ontario has signed on to the federal government’s $10 a day daycare program.
” As a mother of 3 who works a full time job with all children in childcare, the financial burden would be much less. The current childcare rates are equivalent to almost the same ratio as one’s salary. With the current inflation and costs in its upward trend, it’s almost difficult to afford childcare fees, even with a middle class income. To think that both parents would have to be away from their kids, working full time jobs just to afford their childcare sounds almost frivolous considering we are living in a first world country.”
Ontario was the last province to agree to the $10 a day daycare plan by the federal government. The $13.2 billion plan aims to lower daycare fees for families to $10 a day by September 2025. It also aims to create about 86,000 new childcare centers, hire new educators, enroll 5,000 licensed childcare centers into the program, and other plans.
Rachel Felipe also welcomes the news. She says right now she can only afford to put her three children in daycare part time.
“Due to the high prices, we have to do a lot of budgeting around daycare. It is stressful to manage budgeting for all expenses, including daycare. We have had stress in regards to whether we should place our children into part time or full time daycare. We have decided to put our kids into part time daycare due to the high cost of full time daycare. Since they are in part time daycare, we have to find other people to babysit our kids or take days off of work, which is stressful and affects our income greatly. My children are in daycare three days a week, which is the part time stream.”
“Given how complex Ontario’s child care system is, we wanted to get this right. Today, we’re delivering a deal that will keep money in the pockets of hard-working parents,” said Premier Doug Ford.
“It would greatly benefit not just my family but all families that has the same problem like us more specifically single parents households. Families that are living on one income alone would greatly benefit from this.” says Nuyen.
“Given that we are living in a pandemic, this decrease of child care expenses would help single parents slowly get back to work. It would lessen the financial stress that childcare expenses has on every household. With the new benefit that our government is giving us, the extra money(money that would’ve been childcare expenses) would help parents invest on other activities that our child could benefit from. Any extracurricular activities that we couldn’t afford from before because of how expensive childcare is.”
Felipe said “I believe that the $10 a day daycare will benefit my family in many ways. Firstly, it would cut our daycare costs tremendously, which will allow me to use the extra funds for other purposes or expenses. Secondly, I would not have to deal with the stress of taking time off of work to care for my children or find other people to take care of my children. Thirdly, I can put them in daycare full time, which will increase their knowledge and socialization skills. I believe increased knowledge and socialization with others will benefit my children’s’ well being as well as their development.”
However, there is some criticism regarding this deal. In an article from Globe and Mail, chief executive officer of the Canadian Child Care Federation Don Giesbrecht said that this will only cover children in regulated and licensed child care, leaving parents with children in unlicensed care unsupported. He also states that since Ontario seeks to acquire about 15,000 new educators for this deal, their pay of $18-an hour for minimum wage won’t be enough, saying ““That alone is not enough, and frankly it’s not enough even for right now.”
Liberal leader Steven Del Duca says that “It’s deeply disappointing that the people of Ontario had to be last in line to get nothing really for that kind of delay. I don’t see anything in the agreement that tells me it was worth this wait.”
Although the full deal isn’t expected to take full effect by the end of 2026 due to Ontario wanting a 1 year extension to the deal, there are some things that Ontario parents should expect sooner. As of April 1st, 2022 families with children in licensed childcare centers will have their fees lowered to a minimum of $12 a day. Parents should also expect partial refunds by may, as well as the creation of about 5,000 new childcare centers and agencies by September. In December another reduction in prices is expected, bringing childcare costs down to a total of 50% in 2022.