Every year since 2014, the CCPA has surveyed child care fees in order to assess which Canadian cities are the most and least affordable for parents. This year’s survey does that and more: a special set of questions was added to understand some of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on regulated child care. The resulting combination of data about parent fees and the impacts of COVID-19 provides both unique data about regulated child care during the pandemic and insights into Canada’s long-standing approach to early learning and child care—and the challenges it creates for parents and service providers.
This year’s phone survey involved more than 11,000 phone calls to child care centres, licensed family child care providers and in provinces using an agency-based family child care model. The fees included in this survey are only for children aged 5 and under in centre or family based, full-time, regulated child care. In each city, the survey tracks fees in three age groups, where applicable: infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
The survey was conducted between September 22 and November 13, 2020—after the first wave of the pandemic forced an economic lockdown that disrupted many parents’ work situations and placed additional pressure on child care centres that were already on the edge before COVID-19 struck. The survey was completed shortly before the second-wave surge of COVID-19 incidents began.