Hundreds of thousands families live in daycare ‘deserts,’ report says

Liberals are providing federal cash for child care to provinces, territories over the next 10 years

An estimated 776,000 Canadian children live in areas of the country parched of available daycare spaces, suggests a new report that outlines the statistical flip side of high child care costs in some parts of the country.

The study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, being released Thursday, says 44 per cent of all school-aged children live in so-called “child care deserts” where the number of children outstrips the available spaces in licensed homes and centres.

The study didn’t take into account unlicensed daycare because there is no exhaustive list of spaces Canada-wide.

Researchers found cities in provinces that take a more active role in regulating child care were more likely to have broader coverage, compared with those provinces that took a hands-off approach to regulation and let the market dictate prices and locations of spaces.

As a result, the report concludes, fewer than five per cent of children in Charlottetown and Quebec cities were under-served, compared with Saskatoon, where every child lived in a child care desert.

“Most of the patterns in the market system reflect what providers want; they don’t reflect what parents want because providers locate where they want to locate,” said David Macdonald, a senior economist at the centre and author of the study.

“It illustrates the other side of child care.”

Spaces were also crowded around urban cores, and less prevalent in suburbs and rural areas of the country.

Toronto’s child care spaces were concentrated around the Yonge Street corridor heading right up to Highway 401. beyond that stretch, coverage rates dropped, meaning that parents may be doing a double commute daily – to and from daycare, and then to and from the office.

The same wasn’t true in Quebec. On the island of Montreal, there were enough spaces for the number of children and the same was true in the surrounding areas.

“Quebec shows a bit of a different model, and that’s in part due to the fact that the province is much more involved in child care there — not only setting the fees, but also planning where these centres should go,” Macdonald said. “You end up with a lot fewer deserts.”

The Trudeau Liberals are providing federal cash for child care to the provinces and territories over the next 10 years, the first three of which are subject to funding agreements.

Plans submitted by most provinces and territories show that approximately 9,700 new spaces will be created over the next three years as a result of federal funding. The number doesn’t include Ontario and Quebec, whose plans don’t break down the precise impact of federal funding.

Of the spaces to be created, some will target under-served communities, while others will target marginalized populations like those living in low-income and recent immigrants. Other spending will create daycare spaces for parents working irregular hours like shift work.

The report says smart public policy is needed if the federal and provincial governments want to meet their grand promises on child care.

Jordan Press, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Quesnel Kangaroos bounce Prince Rupert Rampage

Alessio Tomassetti gets four points in 8-4 shootout win at West Fraser Centre

Alzheimer Society of B.C. creates provincial dementia helpline

No one should have to face the journey alone, says organization

Column: report card for professional reliance experiment

Columnist Jim Hilton on a recent Environmental Law Centre review

Local Toastmasters club improves confidence, leadership skills

The meetings take place every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at CNC

Letter: ignore the hype and vote

“Claims made by either side are often entirely contradictory. Who do you trust?”

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

Most Read