PEI

P.E.I. daycare model a system to follow, says policy group

Provincial daycare systems with set fees and across the board subsidies tend to produce lower fees for parents, a new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives concludes.

P.E.I. daycare fees relatively low and stable, group finds

Child care costs on P.E.I. were relatively low across the board. (iStock)

Provincial daycare systems with set fees and across the board subsidies tend to produce lower fees for parents, a new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives concludes.

The best way to support childcare for families across the country really would be to set the fees at affordable costs.- Martha Friendly

The group's analysis of monthly daycare costs in the report A Growing Concern found that P.E.I. parents pay some of the lowest fees in the country. Those costs have also remained steady in the last two years, while most cities saw prices rise at a rate above inflation.

Even when low-income subsidies were taken into account, fees on P.E.I. were third lowest in the country, behind St. John's and Ontario.

"The subsidy systems, which are intended to really help those low-income families by covering their fees, really do need to be looked at," said report co-author Martha Friendly.

"In reality, the best way to support childcare for families across the country really would be to set the fees at affordable costs and to fund the rest of the service the way they're doing in Quebec, Manitoba and P.E.I."

Subsidized costs still out of reach for some

Ontario cities had some of the highest unsubsidized rates in the country, with rates in Toronto more than double P.E.I.'s for infants and toddlers, and almost double for pre-schoolers.

The study also found, however, that Ontario's targeted subsidy program, unlike those in most provinces, brought down rates significantly.

The study looked at the costs for a sample family with two parents and two children and a household income of $30,823. In Toronto, that family would pay $90 a month for one child in daycare while the older child was in school.

The cost would be $144 in Charlottetown. In nine of 28 cities that cost, even with subsidies, would exceed $250.

By the numbers

Below is a sample of some of the daycare fees paid in cities across the country.

Infant fees

Monthly costs
P.E.I. Toronto Montreal
$738 $1,375 $164

Of the 28 cities surveyed, costs came in at more than $1,000/month in 12.

Toddler fees

Monthly costs
P.E.I. Toronto Montreal
$608 $1,375 $164

Of the 28 cities surveyed, costs came in at more than $750/month in 18.

Pre-school fees

Monthly costs
P.E.I. Toronto Montreal
$586 $1,150 $164

Of the 28 cities surveyed, costs came in at more than $750/month in 16.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Yarr is the early morning web journalist at CBC P.E.I. You can reach him at kevin.yarr@cbc.ca.

With files from Laura Chapin

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