The latest annual survey of child care parent fees shows significant fee reductions in all Canada’s major cities. Cities in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nunavut are down to $10 a day.
In most cities, parent fees remain highest for infant programs. Despite significant federally-funded fee reductions since 2019, the median infant fee in 2023 in both Richmond, BC and Toronto, Ontario was $903 a month. Calgary has the highest median fees for preschool-age programs at $810 a month.
The report, produced by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) says for-profit providers on average charged more than not-for-profit operators in almost every city — sometimes by a large margin. One reason for this is more for-profit operators have opted out of the new more affordable Canada-wide system of early learning and child care. Fees charged by for-profit providers are on average 236% higher than non-profit providers in Vancouver.
CCPA’s 2023 survey included a question to determine the capacity of providers to accommodate more children in their programs. Very few said they could enroll a new child within the next week.
The authors of the report recommend:
- all provinces and territories move to a provincially-set fee of $10 a day rather than rely on a combination of fee reductions and targeted subsidies to arrive at the goal of $10 a day by 2025-26.
- each province and territory develop a strategy to expand not-for-profit and publicly delivered centre-based and family child care to meet growing demand for affordable child care spaces
- public operational funding for early learning and child care programs be increased significantly to reflect the actual costs of operating high quality programs, including the costs of providing staff with proper compensation.