Finding Childcare in Canada
Childcare is the responsibility of the parents. If both parents work and you don’t have grandparents or other family or friends to watch your children in your absence, you’ll have to find — and pay for — suitable childcare.
To help offset the costs, Canada offers the Universal Child Care Benefit, which provide financial assistance to all Canadian families with young children, regardless of where they live, their family circumstances or preferences. Parents receive $100 a month for each child under six years of age. This is in addition to being eligible for the Canada Child Tax Benefit.
However, $100 a month is not nearly enough to cover childcare costs. According to Statistics Canada, daycare costs can come up to $1,000 per month depending on where you live and how frequently you require daycare services.
There are childcare subsidies available upon application in some provinces for low-income earners to further help offset these costs.
Types of Childcare
The three main types of childcare are centre-based care, home-based care (e.g., family daycare) and private nannies/babysitters.
The first option requires you to take your child to a public day care centre where he/she will be placed among other children. For an individual to work with children, he/she must pass a criminal check and have appropriate early childhood training. Teaching your child how to behave among other people, how to make friends, how to share and take care of your fellow neighbour are said to be one of the great advantages of this type of childcare.
The second option is home-based family daycare. This is likely to be a cheaper alternative to centre-based care, as it’s typically a stay-at-home mom who opens her home to other children to earn an income while raising her own children. However, the caregiver might not have any formal training.
It is more and more common to be able to find these two types of childcare options operating in your native language. Many foreign-trained teachers, nurses or doctors are unable to practise in Canada without certifying their credentials, which is a lengthy process. Many choose to switch a profession and open up a childcare centre where they focus on ensuring that your child is well-trained in his/her native language. Many immigrant parents with infant children worry that he/she will lose the ability to speak their first language, so finding a daycare centre run by a person of your cultural background is a good idea to make sure this does not happen! For listings or details browse through a local ethnic newspaper.
A third option is hiring a nanny or babysitter to watch the child in your own home, eliminating any stress the child may face in leaving the home environment. But costs for this may be great if the nanny works full-time, as you’re essentially her one main employer. And it is your responsibility to check their educational and criminal background.
Often, teenagers who have gone through a babysitting course take up child-minding as a first job, but are only available on evenings and weekends.
Maternity and Parental Leave
A female employee who has worked for 600 hours in the last 52 weeks (in a job that deducts Employment Insurance benefits) is entitled to 15 weeks of paid maternity leave to have her child. An employee, male or female, is also entitled to parental leave of up to 35 weeks to assume the care of the newborn or newly adopted child.