In November 2013, the City of Toronto launched a parent engagement campaign called Let’s Talk Child Care.
The objective of the campaign was to obtain parent feedback about child care and children’s services in Toronto. The Let’s Talk Child Care campaign had two components: four in person consultations with parents (the Toronto Parent Summits); and an online survey which was available from November 4 December 16, 2013. One hundred sixty-seven parents of children ages 0-12 attended the in-person consultations and 1435 parents of children ages 0-12 completed the online survey during this campaign.
Key findings of the campaign:
- Parents/guardians stated strong support for a universal child care system funded through public investment.
- Parents/guardians described the difficulty in paying for child care in Toronto, due to high fees and limited fee subsidies.
- Parents/guardians described the struggles they face to access licensed child care spaces due to high demand.
- Quality child care is important to parents. Parents/guardians stated that quality includes health and safety, well-paid and well-trained staff, and an enriching curriculum.
- Parents/guardians identified issues as their children age and transition from child care into the school system. They described their struggles to find before- and after-school care for their kindergarten-aged children, and a lack of available after-school programs for children aged six to 12.
- Parents/guardians described the need for more information about accessing child care spaces and fee subsidies. Generally-speaking, parents were not satisfied with the type of information currently available.
The City of Toronto plans to launch the Let's Talk Child Care Advisory Group this fall. All interested Toronto parents and gaurdians are invited to join the group which will meet once a year to advise the City on child care policy and programs.