Child care is expensive in Ontario
A recent report about child care in Canada released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is making headlines – the Globe and Mail led the story by reporting that Brampton, Ontario has the least affordable daycare in Canada. About a week earlier, Statistics Canada released a report with the child care findings from their 2011 General Social Survey. Almost half of Canadian parents (46%) used child care in 2011, and the majority used child care on a regular basis (86%). Echoing the Policy Alternatives findings cited in the Globe, the Statistics Canada survey found that child care was most expensive in Ontario, with a median cost of $677 a month for full time child care. It’s unlikely that this was news to parents in Halton.
Cost is a barrier to child care in Halton
OKN collects information from Halton parents about issues like child care through our Kindergarten Parent Survey (KPS). We heard from 1628 parents of kindergarten aged children in 2012, and the majority had used child care on a regular basis (78%). Parents reported a number of barriers to finding child care. The most frequently identified barrier was cost, followed by concerns about quality of care, and lack of spaces available.
Support the early years and support accessible child care policies
The evidence is overwhelming – the first 6 years of life are vital for development. Given what we know about the impact of the early years on childhood development, it’s crucial that we work together to build policies that support families in accessing quality child care. As a first step we can simply continue to create awareness of the barriers that families are experiencing. But we also have to find ways to take action together. Ask parents about their experiences, recognize the impact of those barriers, and continue to ensure their voices become part of the conversation within your agency or organization.