Child Care Costs a Hardship for Many Mississauga Families

It's long been known that the sky-high costs of child care are a serious hardship for many families in Canada (and the GTA in particular).

Now, a recent study has revealed that many GTA cities—Mississauga included—pay hefty amounts for infant and toddler care.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives recently released a study, entitled A Growing Concern: 2016 Childcare Fees in Canada's Big Cities, that reveals that Mississauga families can expect to pay a whopping $1,330 a month for full-day infant care and $1,111 for toddler care. As far as pre-school fees go, Mississauga families pay about $986 a month.

That said, Mississauga families are still a little better off than their Toronto counterparts. In TO, families can expect to pay $1,649 a month in infant care fees (that amounts to $19,788 a year). For toddlers, Toronto parents pay about $1,375 a month.

Since the cost of living is incredibly high, it's usually necessary for both parents to work during their children's early years and incredibly high child care expenses are difficult for working families to contend with. For that reason, governments are hoping to alleviate the financial burden for what is absolutely an essential service.

According to the study, a new national framework on early learning/childcare is being developed by federal, provincial/territorial governments and indigenous communities. The federal government has pledged to invest $500 million in childcare in next year's budget in a move that will, ideally, make the service more affordable.

"There is much work to be done in this area, as parental child care fees vary dramatically across the country," the study reads. "Infant fees are generally the most expensive and there are fewer infant spaces than there are spaces for any other age category."

The study also points out that childcare fees are on the rise.

"Toddler fees have risen by eight per cet on average between 2014 and 2016 (three times faster than inflation)," the study reads. For Mississauga in particular, fees have increased seven per cent.

Mississauga families—like most other Canadian families—also have to contend with waitlists, which can be stressful for parents who are hoping to start daycare as soon as their maternity or paternity leaves end. That said, Ontario banned the practice of charging families wait list fees in September, so that's one less cost for Brampton parents to worry about.

In some other good news, lower-income Mississauga families who receive childcare subsidies usually only to have to pay monthly out-of-pocket expenses to the tune of $90 (families in Saskatoon pay about $497, to put things in context).

In terms of low child care expenses, families in Quebec pay the least, with infant and toddler childcare costing about $164 a month (fees are set by the province).

Here's hoping families in Mississauga—and beyond—can get some child care relief soon.

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