Kirwan Calls For Review of Child Services Day Care Subsidy Policy

Date:                     September 22, 2014

To:                        Media

From:                    Robert Kirwan
                             Candidate for Councillor of Ward 5

Re:                        Kirwan Calls For Review of Child Services Day Care Subsidy Policy  


We have an obligation to take care of the most vulnerable members of our city and that includes our children and our senior citizens. So when I hear about plans on cutting hundreds of subsidized day care spots across the city it makes my blood boil and I have to ask, “What are they thinking?”

The parents who are in the most need for subsidized day care are obviously the single parents or families who earn less than $20,000 in taxable income per year. They would be eligible to receive the full subsidy for child care services and because of their low income they do not need to contribute anything towards child care costs, if they have one of the licensed subsidized spaces. Each day care is allotted so many subsidized spaces and they are handed out on a first-come basis, so it is not easy to find a subsidized space. And now the city is proposing to cut back on the number of spaces.

With this policy if a high income family holds a subsidized space, the cost to the city for the subsidy is lower than if that spot is held by someone with a low income. Therefore, more subsidized spaces can be maintained for the same amount of money. Unfortunately, this means that there are some subsidized spaces being held by families with a taxable income of over $80,000. At that level the family is only required to pay a monthly contribution of $1166 with the remainder being subsidized. So if there are three children in day care, this can be quite a large subsidy.

We need to examine the child services system we currently have in place to make sure that we are providing assistance to the parents who need it the most – those with a family taxable income of less than $20,000. Someone with a young child who is just getting into the job market with a taxable income of less than $20,000 will have a difficult time finding an available subsidized space and may therefore have to pay full price while the children of parents in the same day care earning a taxable income of $80,000 will receive a subsidy.

I will be recommending a complete review of our child care subsidy program and seeking amendments that will help us provide assistance to those most in need. This may mean that the city will be required to find more money to put into our subsidy program, even if the money is not forthcoming from the province. I do not want to see anyone who is currently receiving a subsidy to be penalized. My plan would see them continuing to remain in the program with the same subsidy level as they currently have, but once they leave the program, that spot would be provided to a low income family.

We must consider opening up more subsidized spaces specifically for those who are earning less than $20,000 per year in taxable income. We may need to create a separate budget line for those who meet the “low income test”. But if that is what is needed, it is what we must do. We cannot abandon our low income families who require our assistance the most.

For more on Robert Kirwan’s campaign visit


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