New Child Care Rebates a Step in the Right Direction



April 11, 2019

The new child care tax rebates announced as part of the Ontario government’s latest budget are a step forward in making child care generally more affordable, says think tank Cardus. The new rebates promise up to $6,000 for the lowest income Ontario families, though they could go a high as $8,250 for families with a child that has a severe disability.

“Child care is a major expense for many families, so a refundable tax rebate should help to ease that burden,” says Peter Jon Mitchell, Acting Program Director of Family at Cardus. “And these rebates are largely in line with one of the key recommendations in our recently released policy paper, A Positive Vision for Child Care, which calls for funding to follow the child, not daycare spaces.”

The new rebates will also be available for a wide variety of types of care.

“Child care is the care of a child, no matter who does it,” says Mitchell. “Rebates that are child-based, not centre-based, provide families with flexibility to choose the kind of care that works for them.”

However, Mitchell worries that some families that need help might still fall through the cracks.

“If parents can’t afford to pay for child care at all, a tax rebate won’t help,” says Mitchell. “However, the promised system of advanced child care payments for low income families – which is still years away – might help.”

The new rebates also don’t cover all types of child care.

“If parents choose not to use a paid child care provider, the rebate doesn’t recognize the value of their choice,” says Mitchell.

Cardus has recommended that provinces introducing child care tax rebates broaden the definition of what constitutes child care to include all forms of care, including parental, family, home-based, nannies, or independent care.

Access the full list of provincial recommendations in A Positive Vision for Child Care online.


Daniel Proussalidis
Cardus - Director of Communications
613-241-4500 x508


Cardus is a non-partisan think tank dedicated to clarifying and strengthening, through research and dialogue, the ways in which society's institutions can work together for the common good.