Report calls for 30,000 new child-care spaces in Toronto by 2026

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Toronto’s Community Development and Recreation Committee will debate a report on Thursday that calls for the creation of 30,000 new child-care spaces in the city by 2026.

Earlier this year, Mayor John Tory said the city is facing a “child-care affordability crisis” and urged the Ontario government to provide additional support for families in need.

The city’s Child Care Growth Strategy is a 10-year plan which calls on the federal and provincial government to provide 80 per cent of the $1.6 billion capital costs required to expand the number of child care spaces.

READ MORE: Federal Liberals look to target child care funding to ‘vulnerable’ families

The report said the goal is to have 50 per cent of children in the city from birth to four years of age serviced by a licensed child care system by 2026.

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The strategy also includes a reduction of parent fees of 25 to 40 per cent.

“The provincial and federal share of this total cost would be $1.12 billion, while the 20 per cent share for the City of Toronto amounts to $280 million over the ten years,” the report said.

Tory said in a letter addressed to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne in February that the current state of child care “can no longer be business as usual” with more than 18,000 children in Toronto currently on wait lists.

READ MORE: Toronto has highest child-care cost in Canada, Quebec the lowest: report

Tory said the ratio of subsidies to spaces has also been in decline since 2010.

“We ask that the Province act immediately to prevent us from falling even further behind, by (at minimum) providing the additional 4,918 subsidies needed for us to catch up and bring the ratio back to where it was in 2010,” he wrote.

The growth strategy further states that additional operating costs are estimated to reach $610 million annually by 2026 with the provincial and federal share at $488 million and the city’s at $122 million.

The report also recommends that a meeting be set with provincial and federal representatives to pursue a tri-government agreement on child care expansion and to follow up with another report on the impact of the funding at a later date.

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