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Study: Child care in Canada, 2011

Released: 2014-10-30

In 2011, about half (46%) of all Canadian parents relied on some form of child care for their children aged 14 years and younger, according to a new study using data from the 2011 General Social Survey on Families.

Child care was most often used for children 2 to 4 years old, with about 6 in 10 of their parents using some form of child care arrangement. The use of child care was less common before the age of 2 and after the age of 10.

Three forms of care—daycare centres, home daycare and private arrangements—were most often used for children under the age of 5. Before and after school care was the leading choice for children aged 5 and older.

Overall, child care rates were significantly above the national average in Quebec, where 58% of parents placed their children in care. Those least likely to use child care were parents living in Manitoba (34%), Alberta (40%) and Ontario (43%). All of these rates were below the national average (46%).

The cost of care also varied widely across Canada. Reflecting Quebec's subsidized daily rate of $7 per day, Quebec recorded the lowest monthly cost of full-time care for children under the age of 5, with a median monthly cost of $152 per child. The cost in the second lowest region, the Atlantic provinces, was $541, almost four times the Quebec cost. The highest cost for full-time child care was found in Ontario, with a median monthly cost of $677.

This release is based on the report "Child care in Canada," available today in the publication Spotlight on Canadians: Results from the General Social Survey (Catalogue number89-652-X).

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