If you’re a hardworking parent living in Toronto or the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), daycare can help you balance your busy work life with your responsibilities as a parent. The only problem is that daycare is rather expensive, especially at nicer facilities.
Daycare costs in Toronto can easily range between $850 and $1,300 per month, with the most expensive facilities charging close to $2,000 per month.
With costs this high, it’s easy to see why Ontario residents are complaining and why policymakers are pushing for caps on the cost of child care in Ontario.
Below, I’ll give you a full breakdown of daycare costs in Toronto, so you know what to expect.
Compared to other provinces, the cost of Daycare in Ontario is incredibly expensive. This could be due to the high percentage of billionaires living in the province or it could just be that Ontario is the financial and economic centre of Canada.
Either way you look at it, though, the cost of child care is at an all-time high in Ontario. Enrolling an infant in full-time daycare can cost up to $1,600 or more while enrolling a pre-school age child in full-time daycare can cost as much as $1,200 per month.
Toronto recently surpassed Vancouver as the most expensive city in Canada. Almost everything from housing to groceries and gasoline is more expensive in this city.
That being said, expect the daycare costs in Toronto to be slightly above the average cost of daycare in the greater provincial region of Ontario.
Daycare in a more affordable city like Windsor may only cost $1,200. But the same level of care may run you closer to $1,650 in the heart of Toronto.
The incredibly high cost of daycare in Toronto and Ontario has been a major stumbling block for families. The monthly cost of daycare for a single child can cost as much as renting an apartment or financing a luxury sports car.
If you can’t afford either of those, then it’s unlikely you’ll be able to afford daycare in Toronto.
That’s all about to change, though.
The rising cost of necessities and rapidly increasing inflation in 2022 put many residents in a tough position.
Unable to afford dramatic price increases and daycare (which was also becoming more expensive), Ontario residents pleaded with policymakers to implement changes.
Several other provinces in Canada have already implemented regulations that place a cap on the amount of money daycare facilities are allowed to charge parents.
While this may seem a bit unfair for the business, it’s good for the economy, as it encourages parents to pursue their full-time careers.
One of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s goals was to bring the cost of child care down throughout Canada. While he’s faced some resistance from conservative legislators, Trudeau just finalized a deal with Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford.
The deal will see the federal government provide $10.2 billion to the province of Ontario over a five-year period. The ultimate goal is to bring the cost of daycare and child care in Ontario to less than $10 per day for parents by the end of 2025.
At $10 per day, the monthly cost of full-time daycare in Toronto would be around $300, which is a mere fraction of what it costs today. $300 compared to $1,500 is an 80% price reduction!
Think about all that you could do with an extra $1,200 in your pocket every month…
Ontario residents should expect to start seeing changes in the cost of daycare as soon as early 2023. However, it will likely take until 2026 before you could see $10/day daycare in Toronto.
Ever wondered where all of the money you spend goes? I don’t know about you, but if I’m paying nearly $2,000 per month for a service, I want a full breakdown of exactly what my money’s being used for, so I know I’m not getting ripped off.
The main expenses that your money goes towards are:
- Paying childcare specialists
- Providing food & drinks for the children
- Paying rent, mortgage, and utility bills at the facility
- Licensing fees and taxes
1. Childcare Specialists
The greatest expense that a daycare facility has is, not surprisingly, its employees. On average, daycare workers earn between $17 and $25 per hour.
Nicer facilities typically pay their workers a higher wage and keep more staff on duty to ensure that the children are as safe and cared for as possible.
Many parents pack their children’s lunch for them. However, daycare facilities always keep extra food around for the kids. Purchasing large quantities of juice, water, and kid-friendly snacks can easily add up over time.
Would you rather see your child cared for in a brand-new, state-of-the-art facility or a run-down old building that looks like it might fall over? The nicer the daycare facility, the more you can expect to pay in monthly enrollment fees.
Licensing fees for operating a childcare operation in Ontario aren’t that expensive. License renewal typically costs less than $350, depending on the number of children enrolled in the program.
If you live in Toronto, you’ll be able to choose between two different daycare options for your child:
- Regulated daycare facilities
- Unregulated child care
Let’s talk a bit about each so you have a better idea of what to expect.
Most daycare facilities in Toronto are going to be regulated. These facilities are businesses that have paid for their childcare licensing fees and are supervised by both federal and provincial regulatory authorities.
These are generally the best option for parents, as these facilities provide an increased level of safety, protection, and care for children.
Unregulated daycare facilities are illegal in the province of Ontario. However, unregulated child care is still a legal option in the form of nannies and babysitters.
Parents who prefer that their children stay at home are not required to hire a licensed childcare professional and can hire anybody they please to watch their child.
In-home child care is generally more expensive than sending your child to a daycare facility, as you’ll be paying an individual employee a full-time wage.
A nanny provides childcare in your home, and might also perform other tasks such as meal preparation or light housekeeping. Costs for a nanny can vary widely but typically start at around minimum wage.
Nannies with more experience or qualifications might charge $20 per hour or more. Full-time live-in nannies might be paid a weekly or monthly salary instead.
Preschools typically offer part-time care with a focus on education and preparation for kindergarten. They generally serve children aged 3 to 5. Costs can vary significantly, from around $200 to $1000 or more per month, depending on the program’s length and the specific services provided.
Daycare is often the easiest option for parents in Toronto. All you need to do is drop your child off at the facility and pick them up after work.
You don’t have to worry about anybody being in your home, and you’ll have full confidence that trained professionals are able to take care of your child’s needs.
However, hiring an in-home nanny can also have benefits, including:
- Your child will feel more at home in their own home
- Your child won’t be exposed to as many germs and viruses
- It’s easier to control your child’s diet
- Many parents are more willing to trust a single individual rather than a team of strangers they don’t know very well
Ultimately, this choice is completely up to you. I just recommend that you do your research and figure out the option that’s safest for your child while still being affordable for you.
Daycare tends to be expensive because the facilities are watching infants and young children who are usually under the age 6 or 7. Younger toddlers often require specialized care and constant supervision.
However, once your child gets a bit older, you can take advantage of some of the more affordable childcare alternatives in Toronto
If your child is enrolled in Toronto’s public school system, then they’ll technically be receiving free child care for the hours that your child is at school.
If you work late hours and can’t match your schedule to your child’s school schedule, you might also consider signing your child up for free after-school programs as well.
Often, churches, non-profit organizations, and other religious institutions may offer some form of part-time or full-time childcare to members. This can help you save money on the cost of daycare in Toronto.
At this time, Toronto does not offer any free daycare programs to its residents. In fact, Toronto has some of the highest daycare fees in the country.
Although child care is not free in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been pushing for legislation to make child care more affordable for Canadians. Just recently, the PM signed a $10.2 billion deal with the government of Ontario to help lower the cost of child care to $10 per day by 2025.
Another thing to keep in mind as you’re weighing daycare costs in Toronto is that nearly all childcare expenses (including daycare) are tax-deductible in Canada.
For instance, if you’re spending $1,500 per month in daycare expenses, then you could be eligible for an $18,000 tax deduction at the end of the year.
Although daycare costs in Toronto can easily cost upwards of $1,500 or more per month, changes are coming by the end of 2026. With the new childcare deal, Ontario will be gradually providing incentives that allow daycare facilities to dramatically reduce their fees.
Until then, things may be a bit tight, though.
One of the best ways to save money in Canada is to take advantage of free coupons. Keep on reading to see my list of the best couponing apps in Canada next!