In 2013, there were 57,000 daycare spaces in Toronto, which was enough to accommodate 21% of the city’s children who were under the age of twelve. The city subsidized 24,264 of those spaces, which only gives access to 28% of children living in poverty. There are nearly 20,000 children on the waitlist for subsidized daycare in Toronto. Mother’s For Child Care released a report which demonstrated that Toronto lacks licensed daycare spots and with few spots available, the costs are too high for many families in Toronto.
Investing in Toronto’s childcare will allow for more people to enter the workforce and will decrease the employment gap between men and women. With the cost of childcare averaging $10,000 per year, minimum wage workers, part-time workers, and single parents cannot afford to pay for the care of their children and therefore are forced to stay home. Women make up the majority of these positions. Many of them say that they are willing to find work, work full-time, hold management positions, and earn higher wages/salaries, but it has been a struggle to pursue their career goals. A high cost of childcare is a significant factor that contributes to the disadvantage women face in the workforce. Since women are making less money than their male partners, it is likely that the woman would leave her job to provide childcare. Investing in childcare will decrease this gap and ensure more women are contributing to the economy. Since more people would be working there would be less reliance on social assistance. Furthermore, Toronto needs more adults working to support the large number of baby boomers who are entering retirement.
Martha Farah and her associates at the University of Pennsylvania conducted an experiment that demonstrates children from low SES families have lower cognitive development in various areas compared to other children. High-quality childcare will give children in lower SES families an early start with structured education that promotes child development. These additions to a child’s life enhance prospects of success in school, especially in lower income families. Greater school success leads to greater career success. Thus, the child is more likely able to contribute economically in the future. TD Economics Special Report on Child Care estimates that every dollar invested in early learning and child care returns between 1.5 and 3 dollars to the economy. Investments in child care create more jobs and more economic value to communities than almost any other kind of investment. Providing more affordable child care for low SES families has a positive impact on the economy in the future.
I propose the following recommendations to bring greater equality to Toronto
· Increase funds from the Provincial Government to help those families who rely on affordable child care
· Put greater pressure on the Federal Government to support childcare. In 2009, the Harper government stopped funding childcare which led to a shortage of $63 million
· Transfer money from private into public daycares
Non-profit and municipal daycares are run without making profit therefore rates for families are more affordable. In 2010, 67% of child care centre were non-profit, 27% were commercial, and 5.5% were municipal. Instead of providing more subsidized spots in private daycares, more spots should be created by having more municipal daycare centres. In addition to lower costs and more spaces, research conducted by Gordon Cleveland from University of Toronto has demonstrated that municipal daycare centres in Toronto provide high quality care for children. Barry Forer and Gillian Doherty concluded that municipal daycare centres are of higher quality when compared to non-profit and non-profit centres are of high quality than commercial.
Child care is crucial to our local workforce development, economic growth, women’s equality and child development. Giving children a chance to succeed can break the cycle of poverty.
Thank you for your attention to this pressing issue for parents and children.