A Toronto daycare has told parents it has no plans to offer $10-a-day child care under the federal government’s new funding program. Instead, it’s offering a fee hike.
Kinder Grove Infant & Child Care Centre informed parents in an email that it won’t be joining the CWELCC federal funding program because accepting “funding would limit our availability to provide the same enriched program we offer now.”
The daycare, located near St. Clair Avenue West and Bathurst Street, said it also had no choice but to raise its fees to cope with surging operating costs and “rapid inflation driven largely by COVID-19 and now the war in Ukraine.”
As of Sept. 1, prices will increase by 8 per cent.
“Our goal has always been to offer premium child care at affordable prices,” the email to parents reads. “While it pains us to (raise prices), we trust that you will understand that this is a necessity in order to continue providing the best quality child care possible.”
The daycare’s decision to raise fees without first consulting parents has left at least one mother displeased.
“It leaves parents helpless. We have no other options,” said the mom, who asked she not be named out of fear of retaliation from the daycare.
The recently launched child-care program promises an average of $10-a-day child care by September 2025.
The first step in the agreement between the Ontario and federal governments was a reduction in fees by up to 25 per cent to a minimum of $12 per day for children aged five and younger in licensed daycare centres, retroactive to April 1, 2022. This means parents would receive a partial rebate for child care fees already paid from April through whenever fee reductions actually occurred.
Kinder Grove’s decision not to accept funding is disappointing, said the mom, adding that affordable daycare “should be available to everyone.”
She said while her family can absorb Kinder Grove’s planned fee hike, it’s affected their family planning.
“If we have a second child, everything I make will essentially go back to the daycare,” she said. “That then becomes a question of whether I should go back to work or not. We’re lucky, and we’re able to afford this daycare … but it doesn’t seem fair I should have to question my career.”
In an email to the Star, Sam Askenasi, director of Kinder Grove, defended the centre’s decision not to enrol in CWELCC.
“There’s a lot of ambiguity as to how the government program will work,” said Askenasi.
“As such we have elected to monitor the program and continue to evaluate it as it rolls out and matures.”