Childcare spaces: the obstacle course for parents
Juliette Alam is the mother of a two and a half year old boy. She is one of many parents who lament the lack of child care spaces in Toronto and has compiled a list of child care services in their area.
My son has been on the waiting list for two and a half years now.she explains.
We find it very difficult to understand how the day care providers follow up on families who are on the waiting list all the time.
If a child is already in daycare, siblings have priority over any other childcontinues Mrs. Alam, who condemns such regulation.
If it’s difficult for one child, imagine the situation when there are two, warns Audrey Debruyne, a mother of twins stressed by the lack of childcare space.
I have two children to place and there is no question of having one on one side of town and the other on the other sideshe says with annoyance, for her efforts have been in vain.
They are siblings, so it is important to us that they stay together.
” Barely born, you should already think about putting your child on a list. And again, it’s not a guarantee. You must regularly call day care centers to remind them that you exist. »
Claire Teshome, for her part, has three small children. She managed to find a daycare place for her two-and-a-half-year-old eldest son, but she points out that the journey is an average of 40 minutes round trip.
The young mother wonders if she will find two places for her two three-month-old babies. She fears that she will not be able to return to work on the agreed date.
Mrs. Teshome’s quest occupies most of her days.
It is difficult to plan my return to work because I do not even know if I will get a place in the month of Septembershe says.
It blocks all my planning back to work.
The same admission on the part of Mrs. Debruyne, who had to take drastic measures.
We are looking for a young French au pair. We have no choicesays the mother, who lives in the Thunder Bay area and was hoping to return to work after a year off.
Now her twins are 17 months old and she hopes the au pair will get her visa soon so she can come and help her.
What the numbers reveal
The situation of these three women reflects what is revealed in the report published by CCAC.
This report examines the availability of childcare spaces by zip code across the country and finds that childcare deserts are widespreadexplains David MacDonald, senior economist at CCAC and co-author of the report.
Childcare deserts are areas where there is a shortage of space in relation to the number of children living thereexplains Mr MacDonald.
In these regions, there are more than three small children per available full-time place in a regulated childcare centre.
The phenomenon is generally seen in small towns and less densely populated rural areas compared to large cities.says the economist.
In large Ontario cities with more than 100,000 people, the odds of child care deserters are the lowesthe continues.
Compared to the national average of 48%, according to the survey results, the percentage of Ontario children living in childcare deserts is slightly better at 44%.
” In Quebec, only 16% of children living in rural areas live in a desert where there is a lack of full-time daycare spaces. Whereas in Ontario it is 82%. »
As a possible solution, Mr MacDonald suggests not only more better-paid educators to attract qualified staff, but also more childcare centers in smaller towns.
to reduce geographical inequality.
We do not place primary schools where it is good for the headmaster. We put them where the children are. Unfortunately, we do not do that here for childcarehe regrets.
A situation which, according to MacDonald, deserves to be taken seriously as requests for childcare places have increased since fees were reduced last December.
For its part, Education Minister Stephen Lecce’s office recalls its commitment
stand up for Ontario families and ensure they have access to the spaces they need by building 86,000 spaces by the end of 2026.
We have already reduced the fee by 50% to approximately $10,000 per child. We make a differenceends the ministry.