Three hundred families will receive subsidized childcare this year, Mayor John Tory announced Tuesday.
Tory laid out his plans in response to city councillors who voiced their concerns on Thursday during the budget committee meeting. Potential cuts to the budget would affect subsidies available to Toronto parents.
Tory called on the provincial and federal government for help.
“Child care is one of the best investments that governments can make,” Tory said.
Ward 31 councillor Janet Davis called the mayor’s plan bad public policy.
“The Mayor’s proposal increases fees to full-fee parents to pay for fee subsidies,” Davis said.
A proposal in the 2017 budget would see the prices for daycare rising. The proposal would get rid of $4.1 million in occupancy costs of the TDSB, which affects the lighting, heating and maintenance of daycare spaces.
Ward 28 concillor Pam McConnell (ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale) questioned the impact the cut would have on daycares in her ward.
“I have five [daycares]… each of them have a different occupancy rate,” McConnell said. “Does it seem fair that parents who take their children to Nelson Mandela [daycare] don’t have to pay those occupancy fees but other parents have to?”
Parents in Toronto pay the highest child-care costs in Canada, with median monthly costs for toddlers being $1,375, $1,649 for infants and $1,150 for preschoolers, according to a study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Baqala Bakri, who sends her three-year-old daughter to daycare in Scarborough, says the rising cost would force her to look at other alternatives.
“I would have to find other ways for my daughter to get taken care of,’ Bakri said. “I’m already stressing about the costs as they are, I can’t even imagine the stress if they increase.”
The city has a $91 million shortfall in the budget, and this cut in the proposed budget would save $3.39 million over the next two years.