Child care options in Canada
Canadian parents have a lot of options when it comes to caring for their children. You can find child care services ranging from babysitters, daycare centers and pre-school programs before or after school time in Canada!
- Full-day care.
- School-age child care.
- Home care.
Daycare and pre-schools in most provinces. Those institutions are supervised and regulated by provincial authorities.
They all have one thing in common – an unlicensed provider that isn’t responsible for assessing the quality of their services or managing relationships with parents
A brief overview of some child care options in Canada:
|Full-day||In Canada, unlicensed daycare centers are illegal. However, there are some provinces where private and religious schools do not have to be licensed.|
|Part-time programs||Nursery & preschools. Unlicensed programs are allowed in Yukon, Saskatchewan.|
|School-age programs||Many schools offer before- and after-school care, as well as summer camp and vacation day care, at little or no cost. These programs provide a safe and supportive environment for kids to learn and grow.|
|Kindergarten by provinces||Your child’s first discovery step into the big world.|
|Regulated||There are many different types of regulated child care services in Canada. Full-day care, home care, and school-age child care are a few examples. Prices for these services vary, but they are typically very affordable.|
|Unregulated||There are special regulated child care programs in Canada, such as daycare centers and pre-school programs. These types of care are more expensive than other types of care, but they provide parents with comfort knowing that their children are in a safe and watched environment.|
Note: If the care is provided in your home, you must negotiate the employment terms with the caregiver. You should have a written contract between the employer (you, the parent) and the employee (the caregiver). It should also include employees’ job duties, work hours, wages, vacation and sick leave rights, and terms and conditions of separation and termination.
Tip: You may consider a written contract with an unregulated family child care provider.
Planning & Budgeting child care costs
The availability of affordable child care is a major issue for Canadian parents, and luckily there’s an easy way to find out if it will be hard on your wallet. Plan accordingly when looking into the costs!
- Infant: Under the age of two.
- Toddler: Between 18 months and three years old.
- Preschool age: Between two and a half, kindergarten age (four or five years, depending on the province).
What is the price for child care in Canada?
Monthly child care costs range from CAD 181 to CAD 1,986, depending on the province. The table below details the cost by province. The cost of child care varies widely across Canada.
- For example, the monthly infant care cost in Prince Edward Island is approximately $975.
- That same care would cost a staggering $1850 in Nunavut.
- For families in Ontario, the average monthly cost of child care for two children under the age of five is $1700.
- Families in Alberta pay an average of $1600 per month for similar care.
Fortunately, some provinces offer subsidies to help offset child care costs.
As a parent living in Canada, I can share some insights on the current state of child care options and costs in the country, as well as how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the availability and affordability of child care services.
Firstly, I can attest to the fact that child care costs in Canada can be quite high, and vary widely depending on the province and type of care. In my experience, the cost of full-time care for my two children under five years old has been around $1600 per month in Ontario, which can be a significant expense for many families. However, I know that costs can be even higher in other provinces, particularly in the north.
Since the pandemic began, I have noticed some changes in the availability and affordability of child care services. For one, many child care centers have had to temporarily close due to COVID-19 outbreaks or staffing shortages, which has left some families struggling to find care for their children. In addition, some centers have had to reduce their capacity in order to comply with public health guidelines, which has made it even harder to secure a spot for my children.
On the affordability front, I know that many families have been hit hard financially by the pandemic, and child care costs can be a real burden. While some provinces offer subsidies to help offset the costs of care, the eligibility criteria can be strict, and many families may not qualify. I also know that some parents have had to reduce their work hours or leave their jobs altogether in order to care for their children, which has had a significant impact on their income and financial stability.
Overall, I think that child care remains a critical issue for parents in Canada, particularly in light of the ongoing pandemic. While there are many excellent child care providers and programs available, there is a real need for more affordable and accessible options, particularly for families who are struggling to make ends meet. I hope that governments and policymakers will continue to prioritize child care as a key issue, and work to ensure that all families have access to the care and support they need to thrive.
Kristian Crowe, Founder of Above It All Roofing
Key indicators of the cost of child care in Canada
- The four Canadian provinces that have provincially-funded child care are Quebec, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island, Manitoba. The cost of infant, toddler and preschool child care in Toronto is quite expensive. The median monthly costs for an infant up to 3 years old are C$1,866 per month; toddlers aged 2 – 5 years old come at a price tag estimated close to or just below C$500 every week, while those who are 6+ require parents to deal with fees averaging around 1550 dollars each month!
- Here are the five most expensive cities for infant care in the Greater Toronto Area. The cities with the cheapest infant care are in Quebec (Gatineau, Longueuil, Laval, and Quebec City), where the median monthly fee is CAD 181.
- The next most affordable city is Winnipeg, where an infant’s place costs a provincially set fee of CAD 651 per month.
Child care waitlists and waitlist fees
In most cases, because the number of places in child care facilities is limited, many centers around the country have a waiting list, which is usually very long. Because of the long waiting times, many Canadian families are on the waiting list even before their child is born. In many places on these waiting lists, parents may be required to pay a fee (CAD 50 to CAD 200 or more) to get their child on the waiting list. Because each center has its list, parents may have to pay several times while they wait for a space to become available.
How to plan child care costs?
- Calculate your expenses: Make a list of your monthly expenses and estimate your expenses honestly.
- Don’t forget about grants: The Canadian government offers a grant called Canada Child Benefit for families with children. This benefit provides a monthly payment to all eligible Canadian families living in Canada to support them in raising their children. Children who are eligible for disability credits may also qualify for tax credits.
- Subsidy programs: Vary from the province. Ask your local refugee resettlement agency for help. They will be glad to assist you.
- Evaluate the cost of private child care versus full-time day care: Although both are expensive, private care (such as hiring a nanny) may be slightly more cost-effective if you have two or more children.
How to find a child care option that works for your unique situation
- Start with your city’s website and the provincial Ministry of Education’s website (search for “Child Care Services”). You’ll find a list of licensed centers in your area on both sites. If these are informal, unlicensed daycare centers, check the bulletin boards in community centers or talk to other parents or community leaders.
- Consider the location (near your home or work) and the days and hours you need child care.
- Check the environment – is it welcoming, safe and child-friendly?
- Ask how many children they have.
- Ask if the facility is licensed, regulated and supervised by the provincial authorities.
- Check if the staff is well trained in providing first aid.
- Find out if they provide receipts for payment.
- Ask about monthly contributions.
Finding a child care option that fits your unique situation requires much effort and financial preparedness. Knowing how child care in Canada works and becoming familiar with the options available and their costs will help you be well prepared to find an option that works for you and your children.
Almost half (46%) of moms and dads said they used child care for their children aged 14 years and younger. In each province, the types of child care arrangements varied. Private arrangements, such as relatives and nannies, were most popular in eastern and western Canada, whereas daycare centers dominated Quebec, Ontario, and the Atlantic provinces.
Canada has the lowest child care rate in Manitoba, while Quebec has the highest.
In Canada, the province and territorial governments are primarily in charge of child care, which means the country’s various childcare rules may differ. Quebec’s child care system is considered the most unique in Canada. It is the only province to provide a universal daycare service, with fees paid in part.
According to the study, 58% of Quebec parents used child care the previous year. The percentage was much lower in Manitoba, with only 34% of parents reporting that they had used child care the previous year. In Alberta, Ontario, and British Columbia, rates of child care usage were also low, at 40%, 43%, and 45%, respectively.
Child care in Newmarket
Various child care services are available in Newmarket, from not-for-profit centres to private daycare facilities. The cost of child care can vary significantly depending on the type of service, with not-for-profit centres typically being more affordable than private daycares.
The new, state-of-the-art Cozy Time Montessori Academy is located in Newmarket, Ontario. They serve children 6 months to 6 years old. The highly qualified staff are ECE, ECA, Certified Montessori Teachers, Montessori Assistants, and an onsite Cook with a Food Handlers Certificate. Cozy Time’s staff have significant expertise working with youngsters, having received first-aid and CPR training and a clean criminal background check.
In 2011, approximately half of all Canadian parents employed some type of care for their children aged 14 years and younger. Child care rates peaked between 2 and 4, then decreased with increasing age. Quebec parents were most likely to seek out child care in any case.
There were several different kinds of childcare arrangements in each region. Private arrangements, such as relatives and nannies, were most popular in eastern Canada, whereas daycare facilities were most popular in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces. The average cost varies by province, ranging from about CAD 150 per month in Québec to CAD 680 per month in Ontario.