Assessing the cost of daycare in Canada

December 9, 2014

Childcare costs vary from one province or territory to another, which makes it a bit tricky to assess the cost of daycare in broad strokes. The price per day can depend on the age of the child, whether you qualify for support from the government, if the daycare is licensed or not and whether you live in a province that subsidizes childcare.

Parental contributions

In Quebec, if parents send their children to an approved subsidized daycare, they pay a very low rate per child per day, depending on the family income. Everywhere else in Canada, the parents typically pay the daycare fees up front but can claim a certain amount as a tax deduction. For parents of children with disabilities, the allowable tax deduction is higher.

Here are some other examples that illustrate the difficulty of assessing the cost of daycare across the country:

  • Daycare fees for an infant in Saskatchewan are about $600 per month, while in Yukon and Prince Edward Island they can cost $700. In Ontario, fees can reach $1,152 per month.
  • In Newfoundland and Labrador, the average monthly fee is $975 for an infant but $455 for a child between two and five years old.
  • In Nova Scotia, a place in a regulated daycare costs $36 per day for an infant, $32 for a child between 18 and 35 months and $31 for a child between three and five. A place in an approved home daycare costs between $22 and $30 per day.

Provincial or territorial contributions

  • In most of Canada, low-income families are eligible for a government subsidy for childcare in a regulated facility. Since funds are limited, these grants do not cover the full cost. In some areas, especially in Ontario, parents often have to wait for spots in these daycares to come available.
  • In Quebec, the government directly subsidizes regulated daycare, regardless of parental income.
  • Although outside of Quebec parents bear the brunt of childcare costs, each province or territory does finance regulated daycare to some degree, usually to help pay staff salaries. Because this funding varies greatly from one jurisdiction to the next, it is difficult to assess the cost of daycare in a universal way.

Federal contributions

There is now a Universal Child Care Benefit available to all parents, regardless of their income. As of January 2015, the UCCB is evaluated at $160 per month for each child under age six. Parents also receive a monthly benefit of $60 for children between six and 17 years old.

Assessing the cost of daycare in Canada
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