Childcare costs are a significant part of being a parent, and the cost of child care in Ontario is dramatic enough to discourage women from going back to the workforce. This week on our Instagram Live at 5, I shared my insights on the 2021 federal budget and programs that aim to help parents with childcare costs.
The cost of child care in Ontario and across Canada:
There might be more costs associated with having a child than you expect. In addition to having the costs of furniture, diapers, food, health and childcare costs when your kids are infants, there are possible additional costs of infertility treatments, private school, college and many more.
As of 2021, childcare costs average $181 per month in Quebec and $1578 in Toronto!
Quebec has the highest female participation in the labour market in the world, followed by the lowest childcare costs in the country. As we can see from these numbers, childcare support for mothers plays an extremely significant role in getting them into the workforce.
What prevents parents from being active in the workforce?
Overwhelming levels of responsibility
Parents might be juggling an extreme amount of responsibilities as they take care of their children, help with their schooling, deal with their personal challenges and manage work responsibilities. Without having the childcare support they need to levy the stress of responsibilities related to having a child, parents might become too overwhelmed and leave the job market. To help parents be active in the labour force, parents need more financial support from the government.
Judgement in the workplace:
Working parents might face some judgement in the workforce as they might need to leave work early to pick up their kids from childcare right on time to not face additional charges. Some work settings might make these parent employees uncomfortable by treating them as if they are slacking from work, which might psychologically impact a parent.
What are some initiatives in Canada’s 2021 federal budget that will help women with childcare?
The current government has extended maternity leave to 2 years by adding another 12 months. As great as this may sound to parents, this might also be causing a barrier for mothers to get back in the workforce. With the loss of skill and the lack of ability to keep up with work-related knowledge for 2 years, parents might face greater difficulty going back to the workforce.
Fortunately, the federal government is taking further steps to help parents with childcare. By the end of 2022, the government is promising to reduce childcare costs by 50% which will significantly impact family budgets. In addition, the government has set aside $27 billion towards funding childcare expenses for parents regardless of income. Between 2025-2026, the government is planning to reduce the cost of childcare to $10 a day for parents.
How can parents financially plan better for childcare?
Investigate the costs of childcare ahead of time:
If you are planning to have kids or move to another province or country, make sure you investigate the costs of childcare before making your move. Child care in Ontario costs by far the highest across all provinces, so if you live or plan to move to Ontario you might want to check all costs associated with having a child. Find what is available to you and build a budget that involves these costs to make sure you can afford childcare. By knowing what you will need, you can then investigate whether you qualify for any subsidy programs or not that might help you financially with these costs. Despite of your eligibility for support, knowing your numbers will help you to assess the feasibility of going back to work and how you will generate income to support your family.
If you are planning to go back to work, there might be additional costs around getting back to your job around having a child such as childcare for your kids to participate as you can’t be with them during work. If you have a spouse, you may discuss work strategies and see what will financially work best for your household. If you are a single mother, you can assess how much you will need to make to afford childcare and/or if you have any friends or family that might be able to help you out.
Provide flexible work opportunities for employees:
If you own a business, give flexible work opportunities to your employees to assist them with their childcare needs! COVID has shown us how productive employees can be working from home with flexible hours and compressed workweeks. By providing parent employees flexibility, you can encourage more women to go back to working without sacrificing work quality.
We hope you enjoyed reading our blog! Check the full live chat here. You can find our live chats and more of the latest financial news on our News Blog. Stay tuned to learn more tips on a new topic each week on our Instagram Live at 5 on Instagram! Aside from our live chats, we post daily financial updates on social media! Follow us on Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook and Instagram.