St. Stephen's Community House

Part of

The Neighbourhood Group Neighbourhoods Working Together
St. Stephen's Community House

Advocating for affordable childcare

childcare parent speaking to Gloabl News about affordable childcare

"If we wanted to have another child, we can’t.”

Families struggle to afford the astronomical cost of childcare in Toronto. We advocate on their behalf. 

The cost of childcare in Toronto is skyrocketing. Need proof? Look at these numbers:

  • 21%: That’s the increase in childcare fees since 2014 – six times the increase in inflation.
  • $21,000: That’s the cost for infant care in Toronto - almost 1/3 of the city’s median household income.
  • 26%: That’s the number of children in Toronto who belong to low-income families – yet only 8% of families in Toronto receive childcare subsidies.

Simply put, childcare in Toronto is not affordable for the people who need it most. We have always advocated on behalf of parents and families, but this year, we took it to a new level.

Key to the campaign was the city’s fall budget. We worked with The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care and the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario to create awareness about the high cost of childcare. That meant online petitions, letters to city councillors, interviews with Global, CBC and other mainstream media, the creation of @TWEforchildcare, a Facebook group run by two of our west-end childcare parents, social media blasts and deputations to the city’s Economic and Community Development Committee.

One of our childcare parents, Carolina, spoke to the Committee about her struggles. “We were shocked and frustrated when we saw the price of childcare. We didn’t qualify for a fee subsidy and had to make hard decisions to afford rent and childcare. We had to live in a small one-bedroom apartment, sell the car, and couldn’t visit our families overseas. We were living paycheque to paycheque and ran up credit card debt until my husband got a better-paying job. The price for daycare in Toronto is so high that even if we want to have another child, we can’t.”

Our advocacy goes beyond the affordability of childcare. We support fair pay and decent work for Early Childhood Educators, and with COVID-19 among us, we advocated for the safe reopening of childcare centres to ensure the health and well-being of children, parents and staff.

Never before have we seen such a public discussion of the vital importance of childcare to our families, and to our economy. We are truly proud of our parents advocating for change in this local and national debate.

Read more stories / Read more stories from the 2019/2020 Annual Report