The City of Toronto will create 300 child care subsidies as it works toward addressing a waitlist of more than 17,000 families and is calling on the provincial and federal governments to contribute more funding to affordable child care in the city.
Mayor John Tory said Tuesday there was “no bigger expense” for many Toronto families than the cost of child care, adding the creation of the new subsidies was a “major step forward.”
“I understand the fact that there is no bigger expense or stress for many Toronto families, right up alongside their mortgage, than the cost of child care for their kids,” he told reporters at the opening of the Dane Avenue Childcare Centre.
“And that puts far too many Toronto families in a position where the cost of child care becomes relatively unaffordable as it consumes too big a share of what are often modest incomes.”
Tory said the city currently provides child care subsidies to 26,359 families, but there are more than 17,000 children’s families currently on a waiting list for a subsidy.
The $3 million investment in the 300 new child care subsidies is part of the proposed 2017 budget and Tory called on the province to “fully fund” the occupancy costs of early learning and child care spaces inside Toronto schools, which he said should fall under the education system.
“Eliminating the backlog and providing properly for the child care for those who need it is going to have to be a shared responsibility going forward of all three governments,” he said.
“So we need provincial and federal governments to contribute more towards child care subsidies and affordable child care in this city.”
The city is proposing phasing out occupancy grants for schools that house daycares, which would come into effect in July and free up $1.13 million in 2017 and $1.13 million in 2018.
Since 1998, the city has had an agreement with four Toronto school boards to provide $5.8 million in funding to offset the cost of child care centres.
But city staff have said the agreement is not an equitable or transparent practice and is inconsistent with how other child care programs are supported in Toronto.
The $3 million cost of creating the 300 new subsidies will be paid for by the phasing out of the child care occupancy grants, while the rest will be determined at a budget committee meeting on Jan. 24.
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