Child care is increasingly needed in a society where both parents work. There are a variety of options in Toronto to fit all needs. Always research your options carefully before leaving your child with someone else. It is important to find a facility that works for you and your child. Some factors to consider:
Budget: It is important to know what you are able to spend to help determine where you should look. Think about the number of hours and time to day you will need a sitter to determine your total costs.
Language: Your child may need a dual language facility if they do not speak the native language of Toronto: English
Age of Children: Choices in child care are more limited before 3 years old, and children over 5 years old may attend public pre-school for at least half a day. Some schools require that children be potty-trained.
Service Provided: Some facilities offer occasional care or partial care (i.e. 3 days a week), while other facilities only offer full-time.
Proximity to home or work: This is often the deciding factor when choosing a child care facility. Consider your neighborhood, or the area around your work. The easier the commute, the better the situation.
When choosing a care center, also check staff turnover. Consistency in care givers is a major benefit for your child. Make sure that you completely trust any facility or care giver you leave your child with. This is an important element in creating a happy situation, and a happy life.
Meeting local moms is a great way to determine availability and options. Meet at a park, playground, or try online forums like Easy Expat's Canada Forum.
Unfortunately, childcare is quite expensive in Toronto, and it continues to rise. The median cost for infant childcare (children 2 and under) is $1,758 per month. The median cost for toddlers is a bit lower at a median of $1,354. To see a breakdown of costs for each age group, please visit the City of Toronto's childcare webpage.
You may apply for a childcare subsidy in Toronto if you meet the requirements. There is a waitlist for this subsidy, so be sure to apply as soon as possible. You may apply as soon are you know you are pregnant or are expecting a child through adoption. Visit this webpage to apply.
There are more than 1000 different childcare providers in the city of Toronto. To find a verified licensed provider, the city of Toronto has provided an interactive map to help you find childcare that fits your needs and location.
Babysitter's are generally employed on a temporary or short-term basis. Often a friend of the family or relative is employed for an evening to watch over the child at the parents's residence. In the UK, babysitter's may be called "childminders".
Usually young women are the babysitter's and may offer their services as a business. A babysitter should have civil liability insurance and the babysitter's parents must be informed if the person is a minor. Only baby-sitters aged 15 or more can ask for payment.
Babysitter costs range from $12 to $16 per hour depending on the sitter's age and experience.
Most families find a babysitter by word-of-mouth, letting friends and family know that they are looking. Parents may also try posting on bulletin boards at community centers, grocery stores, or expat hang-outs. Always get references and check on them before leaving your child with a stranger. As many babysitters are younger, ask if you can talk to their family, neighbors, teachers, other babysitting clients or coaches. Ask open-ended questions such as, "Tell me about her" or "What's she like with other children?". Make sure you are confident in a sitter's maturity and reliability before leaving your child.
A great on-line resource is to post on expat classified's, like on EasyExpat's babysitter search.
For more frequent childcare, you may consider an au pair. Consult the section on "Au Pair" under "Find a Job".