Children are expensive
MoneySense puts the yearly figure of raising a child in Canada at $13,366; so the total cost to age 18 is above $250,000 (2015). The website estimates annual child care costs at around $4,100. The figures are averaged out over 18 years.
Children are expensive.
Premier Kathleen Wynne announced on March 27 that children, from aged 2.5 until kindergarten, will have access to free licensed child care starting in 2020. The plan requires $2.2 billion to make it happen.
Wynne said the average family with one preschooler would save about $17,000.
This money could be used for other essential things like food, clothing, or even a savings account for future education for the child.
Or, in the case of the 80 per cent of one-child families who can’t afford the care, it could relieve financial stress for parents.
Other countries, like Sweden, spend billions of dollars each year on child care and give children a guaranteed place at a public preschool. Sweden has taken decades to perfect its child care system, but it starts with a step.
This step, along with the announcement of more funds for special education and general education funding, will help families balance the stresses of raising children.
This may be a last-ditch effort by Wynne, but regardless, I’m sure many parents in Ontario won’t want to pass on the opportunity to have a costly aspect of raising kids covered.
Too little, too late
Early this week, before the 2018 Ontario budget was even tabled, Premier Kathleen Wynne told parents their children would have free licensed child care from the time they’re two and half until they enter kindergarten.
While it’s great that the government is looking to help out low and middle-income families in terms of child care, but why the arbitrary age of two and a half?
It seems odd that parental leave allows a parent to be home with their child for 18 months, but then free childcare doesn’t kick in for another year.
So parents will need to scramble to find child care for one year and then, just as their child is getting settled, they may have to move them to a child care centre that is funded by the province.
While this may be good for the wallet, it likely won’t be in the child’s best interest.
Not to mention the cost of child care goes down as the child gets older.
So parents will still be covering the most expensive time out of pocket.
If the government really wanted to help parents, wouldn’t it make more sense to provide funding to all licensed child care facilities and reduce the overall cost for every parent, whether their child is one, two-and-a-half or seven?
While the optics are good, it seems the year and a half of free child care the government is proposing may just be an election stunt to garner votes.