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Internal Documents Detail Toronto’s Daycare Surplus

Freedom of information request uncovers 89% increase in city’s institutional daycare vacancy rate.


April 26, 2017

OTTAWA – Internal City of Toronto documents accessed through a Freedom of Information request indicate that the city has a growing daycare surplus. In fact, between 2009 and 2017, average daycare vacancies jumped 89%. Even if we remove the first three months of 2017 from consideration, there is still a 45% increase in the average number of vacant spaces between 2009 and 2016. This means that right now in Toronto, the average vacancy rate of daycare spaces is in excess of 4,600.

The City of Toronto recently put forward a plan to create 30,000 more institutional daycare spaces over the next decade. The funding requirements for the new vision could run as high as $2.6 billion, 80 per cent of which city officials expect provincial and the federal taxpayers to cover.

To help develop better policy on this issue, Cardus has released a new report outlining Toronto’s institutional daycare surplus and various options to help meet families’ real needs for childcare.

Two policy options can most quickly offer help to those with the greatest need:

  • Offer daycare subsidies directly to families in need to help them use already available spaces.
  • Subsidize various forms of care – not just institutional spaces – allowing families to choose the most appropriate type of care for their own needs.

“It is clear that the City of Toronto has been unable to meet parents’ needs with its current approach, so expanding a broken system won’t help,” says Mrozek. “There is room to try some different solutions.”


Daniel Proussalidis
Cardus – Director of Communications
613.241.4500 x.508