The 2021 federal budget laid out its historic vision of a universal, publicly funded child care system “for all” based on five principles: affordability, accessibility, quality, flexibility and inclusivity. As part of the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) agreement, each province and territory agreed to reduce parent fees by 50 per cent, on average, by December 2022, and further lower fees to an average of $10 a day by 2025-26. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ (CCPA) annual child care fee survey, which conducts 11,000 telephone calls and has been publishing median fee data each year since 2014, allows progress toward meeting CWELCC’s goals on affordability to be measured, analyzed and assessed.
This report assesses progress in achieving the affordability goals for full-time, licensed centres and regulated family child care for infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children up to the beginning of kindergarten. The report examines child care fees in 37 cities together with other variables in several ways including how fees have changed since CWELCC was introduced. It makes four recommendations based on the research.