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Losing subsidized daycare means not working for this parent

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Kennedy, Brendan
Publication Date: 
13 Jul 2011



It is difficult to overstate the effect on Joanne Wilson and her family if she and her husband were to lose subsidized child care.

"I'd have to quit my job, because I'd be paying more for child care than I make," said the 40-year-old mother of two, who works two part-time jobs. "Then we wouldn't be able to keep the house on one income, so we'd have to sell it and rent again."

An external audit of city services by consulting firm KPMG - aimed at finding ways to shrink the city's budget shortfall - suggested that "phasing out" 2,000 subsidized child-care spaces could save $24 million.

Of the 53,000 child-care spaces in Toronto, 24,000 are subsidized. Of those, 22,000 are jointly subsidized by the province and the city. The remaining 2,000, subsidized by the city alone, are the spots targeted for cost-cutting in the report. There is currently a record number of people - nearly 20,000 - on the city's waiting list for subsidized child care.

On Thursday, Wilson had just come home from a visit to the city's Children's Services office at Metro Hall, where she confirmed that child-care subsidies - half the full-fee price - had come through for her two children: Lucas, 1, and Evan, who turns 4 next month.

She spent more than 17 months on a waiting list to get the subsidy for Lucas (she signed up when she was still in her first trimester), and 15 months for Evan.

Wilson says if she had to pay full fees - upwards of $100 a day, per infant - it would take up her full income. "If I lose this, it means not working at all again."

But Wilson said she's more worried about single parents, who may be forced onto welfare without the benefit of subsidized child care.

"Hopefully (city councillors) don't make this decision lightly."

-reprinted from the Toronto Star