Saturday, March 8, 2014

Toronto's Daycare Subsidy

So, the Dude and I were approved for daycare subsidy. We were fortunate enough to find inexpensive home care at $45 a day, and it's been reduced to a little over $39, and only Tuesday through Friday because I don't work on Monday. But it's still a savings of around $80 a month, which is nothing to sneeze at.

And I intend to move Jack to the actual daycare centre when he's 18 months and there's space in the toddler room. Care then will cost over $70 a day and with the subsidy in place I should still only pay $39. I think. Either way, it'll be cheap enough to be affordable with the subsidy and all the leg work has now been done.

And what leg work there was.

We had to provide our Child Tax Credit statement, where our household income was assessed from our taxes. We had to provide our own tax assessments. I needed to provide a letter of employment, plus pay stubs and the Dude had to fill out forms for being self-employed. Then we needed our lease to prove we lived in Toronto. And we needed Jack's birth registration. And we both needed to go, so the Dude had to get the day off work.

So, we were lucky enough that my in-laws were in town and they took care of Jack. My goodness, he loves his grandpa. They visit on the iPad all the time and looks like it really has been enough to forge a relationship. The little guy was in grandparent heaven.

We got to the subsidy office later than intended because it's located in the worst part of the city: Islington. My god, what a hell hole. No, it's not riddled with crime and gangs. It's just car-centric, boring and horribly laid out, plagued with heavy traffic and nothing interesting to do or see. We missed one turn and it took us 20 minutes to get back to where we needed to be.

Screen shot from Google Street View
because it's too boring to take a real picture of.
In the office we gave our paperwork and at one point we were called over to verify some things. The lady cheerfully informed us we were missing things and was on the verge of telling us sorry, go home, suckers. Luckily it was she who missed something and so that didn't happen, although we saw it happen to someone else, a single mother who was there with a sick child. This place was all-business.

We had our interview with another woman who was even more walled-off than the first. She too said without a hint of concern we were missing things. There was no reassuring conversation that things could still be processed or that everything could move forward, so we were left feeling jittery and agitated. Apparently because I was on maternity leave, I needed a letter stating that and indicating when I'd return. And of course this was never mentioned until that moment.

I had very disturbing stomach rumbles during this time. When you have one crack at gaining a subsidy that will allow your finances to align for the next year and ensure quality care for your baby, you experience quite a bit of stress when it appears like it's not going to work out.

But thankfully, shitting my pants was not in the cards because I was informed that mat leave letter could wait and be sent in later. And just like that, we were approved. It seemed sudden, after all the mulling over our papers and very serious tone in the room. Immediately the mood lightened and the woman started conversing more naturally, answering questions and even nearly smiling.

It's definitely a weight off my shoulders. It's good to know what to budget for. All this time it's been an X factor. That's one of the crazy things about having a baby in this city. Finding a daycare is crazy, finding one you can afford is crazier still, and securing the subsidy can be tricky (And that's if you find care that'll accept it). So you can't make a sensible financial plan. I was quoted $1,400 a month from one place, which I could not afford. I'll pay about $820, which is a steal.

I'm so grateful I don't want more children. What you have to go through to get through life with one is more than enough. He's worth it, but cripes.


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