Family Life

Family

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How to find affordable childcare without compromising quality

children playing at daycare

As parents, it’s paramount to find affordable childcare without compromising quality and safety. It can pose a significant challenge to families due to various factors including availability, cost and differing regulations across provinces. Here are a few places to start your search for affordable childcare in Canada:

Government resources: Check if your province or region has a directory of licensed childcare providers. Some may have information on subsidies or financial assistance
programs available to help with childcare costs, as well as a list of centres who have
enrolled in the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement (CWELCC)—a
federally funded initiative to reduce the cost of child care to an average of $10 per day
by 2026.

Licensed child care providers: Licensed childcare centres and home daycare providers
must meet certain standards for safety, staff qualifications and programming, which can help ensure the quality of care. You can often find lists of licensed providers through your local child care licensing office.

Word of mouth: Personal referrals can be valuable in finding quality care, as you can
get firsthand insights through the experiences of other parents. Ask friends, family members or coworkers for recommendations on childcare providers they trust.

Community Centers: Some community centers or churches offer childcare programs
that may be more affordable than traditional daycare centres. These programs can vary
in quality, so be sure to visit and ask questions about the curriculum, staff qualifications
and safety procedures.

Find a co-op preschool: These are typically more affordable than private preschools.
Qualified educators are paid by the co-op but parents also participate by volunteering
their time on a regular basis.

Subsidies and financial assistance: Investigate whether you qualify for child care
subsidies or financial assistance programs offered by the government or by non-profit
organizations. These programs are designed to help lower-income families afford child
care expenses and can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket costs.

Flexible work arrangements: Explore options for flexible work arrangements with your
employer, such as remote work or flexible hours, which can help reduce the need for
full-time child care.

Start early and be patient: Finding quality, affordable childcare can take time, so start
your search early and be prepared to visit multiple providers before making a decision.
Ultimately, finding the right childcare option for your family requires thorough research, careful consideration of your needs and preferences and possibly some creativity in exploring different options and resources available in your community.

Originally published in March 2024.

a man carrying two children