Daycare fees have dropped â€” or barely inched up â€” in some Canadian cities in what might be early signs of the influence of federal child-care money, a new survey says.
The fifth annual survey of child care fees from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives being released Thursday says that fees for full-time, regulated child-care spaces have risen faster than inflation in 61 per cent of cities reviewed.
The left-leaning think tank found that costs were the highest in Toronto and the surrounding area, where fees for children under 18 months average $1,685, and $1,150 a month for older preschoolers.
Cities in Quebec had the lowest fees for full-time, regulated spaces across the country, followed by Winnipeg and Charlottetown â€” in the three provinces that have fixed fees for years.
The federal treasury is set to spend $7.5 billion over a decade to help fund child-care spaces across the country, with the money flowing through one-on-one agreements with provinces.
The first three years of spending will be $1.3 billion and potentially create or maintain 40,000 subsidized spaces, a target the Liberals say is on its way to being achieved. Once the three years are up â€” after this year’s federal election â€” new funding deals will have to be signed.
David Macdonald, a senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, said he expected that government policy aimed at lowering fees will lead to an overall decrease in prices for the first time in five years.
He says the initial federal spending appears to have helped provinces moving to regulate the prices parents pay for child care.