Hundreds of thousands families live in daycare ‘deserts,’ report says

Liberals are providing federal cash for child care to provinces, territories over the next 10 years

An estimated 776,000 Canadian children live in areas of the country parched of available daycare spaces, suggests a new report that outlines the statistical flip side of high child care costs in some parts of the country.

The study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, being released Thursday, says 44 per cent of all school-aged children live in so-called “child care deserts” where the number of children outstrips the available spaces in licensed homes and centres.

The study didn’t take into account unlicensed daycare because there is no exhaustive list of spaces Canada-wide.

Researchers found cities in provinces that take a more active role in regulating child care were more likely to have broader coverage, compared with those provinces that took a hands-off approach to regulation and let the market dictate prices and locations of spaces.

As a result, the report concludes, fewer than five per cent of children in Charlottetown and Quebec cities were under-served, compared with Saskatoon, where every child lived in a child care desert.

“Most of the patterns in the market system reflect what providers want; they don’t reflect what parents want because providers locate where they want to locate,” said David Macdonald, a senior economist at the centre and author of the study.

“It illustrates the other side of child care.”

Spaces were also crowded around urban cores, and less prevalent in suburbs and rural areas of the country.

Toronto’s child care spaces were concentrated around the Yonge Street corridor heading right up to Highway 401. beyond that stretch, coverage rates dropped, meaning that parents may be doing a double commute daily – to and from daycare, and then to and from the office.

The same wasn’t true in Quebec. On the island of Montreal, there were enough spaces for the number of children and the same was true in the surrounding areas.

“Quebec shows a bit of a different model, and that’s in part due to the fact that the province is much more involved in child care there — not only setting the fees, but also planning where these centres should go,” Macdonald said. “You end up with a lot fewer deserts.”

The Trudeau Liberals are providing federal cash for child care to the provinces and territories over the next 10 years, the first three of which are subject to funding agreements.

Plans submitted by most provinces and territories show that approximately 9,700 new spaces will be created over the next three years as a result of federal funding. The number doesn’t include Ontario and Quebec, whose plans don’t break down the precise impact of federal funding.

Of the spaces to be created, some will target under-served communities, while others will target marginalized populations like those living in low-income and recent immigrants. Other spending will create daycare spaces for parents working irregular hours like shift work.

The report says smart public policy is needed if the federal and provincial governments want to meet their grand promises on child care.

Jordan Press, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna families honour the dead by releasing butterflies

The Nicholson matriarchs release 33 butterflies

Vernon writers launch online workshop for teens, young adults

Storymakers’ Raise Your Voice workshop seeks to help women writers uncover and use voice

Vernon’s Tea Desire to close doors

July 28 last day of operation in Vernon location

Vernon talent hit Special Olympics Team BC roster

Four basketball players, one soccer player to represent Vernon on Team BC in Nova Scotia July 31

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Kelowna families honour the dead by releasing butterflies

The Nicholson matriarchs release 33 butterflies

Course veterans seize victory in Peach City Classic

The first place titles in this year’s triathlon belonged to returning competitors.

Vernon writers launch online workshop for teens, young adults

Storymakers’ Raise Your Voice workshop seeks to help women writers uncover and use voice

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

East Shuswap Road wildfire’s fire line being controlled

Firefighters saved an eagle’s nest and eaglets while controlling fire lines

Most Read