A column from a mom lays it out starkly as any why this is needed. Here is an excerpt from an article titled Daycare in Toronto is expensive and hard to find:
…Daycare in Toronto is extremely difficult to find, not to mention unaffordable. The “waiting lists” are hardly transparent. To find a spot requires perseverance and continual lobbying. My story highlights some of the problems with this system. I can only imagine the difficulty in finding a subsidized spot, which are even fewer and farther between.
The $100 Universal Child Care Benefit we get from the federal government each month covers just less than one day at some city-run daycares. The maximum tax deduction you can make for child care is $7,000 per child. At the rates being charged in Toronto, families pay $10,000 to $18,000 a year for each preschool-aged child in the family. There are so many ways this system can be improved but it requires focus, time and resources. When will this issue get the attention it deserves?
The answer to that last question – at least for me – is when the Conservative government is defeated. That’s why I was pleased to see Ignatieff commit to re-introducing a national daycare program. I am hopeful when its details are released that it will be even more comprehensive and “national” then the program Prime Minister Paul Martin signed with the provinces, before Harper and the Conservatives cancelled it, in an attempt to prevent it being entrenched as Medicare is. They won’t dare touch universal Medicare, but they were able to kill this attempt at a national daycare program before it got fully established. I am pleased to see that we will attempt to re-establish a daycare program with (hopefully) national standards and (hopefully) universal access for all who need it, if Ignatieff and the Liberals get elected.
(H/T to Brandie Weikle, parentcentral.ca and healthzone.ca editor for the Toronto Star)
UPDATE: If I’m not mistaken, that 100$ benefit the government sends out also gets clawed back, so it ends up being considerably less then 100$ a month, and even more useless for covering childcare costs.