Study finds Oakville will meet or exceed federal day-care targets this year
A new study found that Oakville will be one of the Canadian cities or towns to benefit immediately from the federal government’s highly touted national child-care program.
While the new child-care program aims to make care more affordable for parents, a new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives suggests just how much fees are reduced will depend on where they call home.
For preschool-aged child care, seven of 26 cities included in the study’s analysis will meet or exceed federal targets in 2022, including Oakville, Whitehorse, Regina, and Ottawa.
The study finds because provinces and territories are taking different approaches to try to meet the government’s initial fee reduction targets, some might miss them.
“It seems to me the challenge is not so much getting a plan up and running, it’s correctly implementing it,” said David Macdonald, study co-author and a senior economist at the centre.
The Liberals’ 2021 budget promised $30 billion in new spending on a national child-care system over five years, and $9.2 billion annually afterward.
The government’s national plan is intended to cut average fees in half for regulated early learning and child-care spaces by the end of the year, and bring $10-a-day child care to every province and territory by 2026.
Different types of child care exist for different child age groups, including infant, toddler and preschool-aged care, the latter being the most common.
The study found that 15 cities will be close to their targets, missing them by about $20 to $100 a month, including Lethbridge, Alta. Toronto, Saint John, N.B., and Halifax.
The four cities that will miss their targets by more than $100 a month are Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Charlottetown.
The reason Winnipeg is one of the cities with fees set to lag behind its target has to do with its approach, Macdonald said.
“The Manitoba government is not changing their set fees at all. They’re modifying their subsidy system for lower-income households, such that the average reduction in fees will still be 50 per cent. But the benefit is really for lower-income households,” he said.
Macdonald said he hopes the provinces move to the set fee system, the most predictable and transparent way to get to the 50 per cent reduction in child-care fees. Five provinces have adopted this method, including Quebec and most recently New Brunswick.
Quebec and Yukon have already achieved $10 a day on average while many other cities are well on their way to reaching the federal goal of reducing parent fees by 50 per cent on average by the end of 2022, said Mohammad Hussain, spokesperson for Families Minister Karina Gould.
“To date, all provinces and territories have indicated they are on track to meet the targets outlined in their Canada-wide agreements, including achieving the 50 per cent average fee reduction by the end of 2022,” Hussain said.
- With files from The Canadian Press