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‘We are in a perfect storm’: Toronto faces child care space crisis, advocates say

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Without provincial funding, the city will fall short of 2026 child care space expansion target, city report says.
Hasham, Alyshah
Publication Date: 
28 Nov 2023



“We are in a perfect storm,” said Donna Spreitzer, the executive director of advocacy group Toronto Community for Better Childcare.


Wages are far too low, even with Ontario’s recent announcement to increase the minimum wage of child care workers to $23.86 an hour next year — up from a planned increase to $20, Spreitzer said. That is much less than child care workers employed by the city of Toronto, who earn $30 and up, she said, noting this is a female-dominated sector.

The hourly wage needed to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto and still have money leftover for food and utilities is estimated at $34, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.


The system has changed from child care centres being directly funded by fees to being 50 per cent funded by the provincial government, according to city staff, and this has left child care providers having to submit their budgets yearly with no guaranteed funding.

The city is advocating for multi-year funding agreements to increase stability, staff said at Tuesday’s economic and community development committee.

The committee is calling for the provincial government to increase wages and benefits for early child care educators to match the city of Toronto pay-scale, and for the federal and provincial government to fund the operation and expansion of the child care sector.


But the city is expected to fall short of its target by more than 7,000 spaces due to a lack of provincial funding, according to the city report.

The areas of the city in greatest need of new child care spaces are also among the poorest led by Scarborough—Rouge Park and Humber River—Black Creek. 


There are 14,000 families on the fee subsidy wait-list, showing how great the need for affordable child care is, according to city staff.