Million-dollar babies

From crushing daycare fees to saving for university, the cost of having kids is reaching astonishing new heights


Evan Kafka / Getty Images

Elisa and Dave Santiago bought a two-bedroom condo with a den in a trendy neighbourhood in uptown Toronto in 2009 with plans to eventually start a family. Then they found out they were pregnant—with twins. When daughters Micah and Yuna arrived eight weeks ago, the joy of becoming new parents clashed with the new reality of what it meant to raise a family in a high-cost city.

As a self-employed naturopath, Elisa, 35, wasn’t eligible for maternity-leave benefits. Dave, 36, had recently left his well-paying accounting job to start his own consulting business, leaving the couple with little in the way of a steady income in the short term. So, four years after they purchased their dream home, the couple put their condo up for sale and moved back in with Elisa’s parents. While Elisa says the decision was largely driven by her need for her mother’s help in raising newborn twins—a huge benefit in a city where daycare costs can reach $2,000 a month per child—the nearly $3,000 a month in mortgage payments and maintenance fees meant their condo had started to look less like a family home and more like a financial burden. “It’s hard to let go of that condo, because I love it,” Elisa says. “But this is the choice we had.”

The Santiagos are only now discovering what nearly six million Canadian families with dependant children know all too well: The cost of rasing a child has hit astonishing new heights. In a society where many parents see buying a house as an important part of starting a family, the cost of housing in cities is rising into the stratosphere, pushing double-income households to the brink. Daycare costs, meanwhile, are now equal to taking on a second mortgage in some regions. The hourly rates of nannies and babysitters are also going up by double digits. Plus, the pressure to save for children’s education is higher than ever, as tuition fees continue to climb. It’s no surprise that parents of young children, says Statistics Canada, now carry debt worth 180 per cent of their after-tax income, well above the already-elevated national average of 161 per cent. Bundles of joy, maybe, but babies have also become financial burdens from which today’s parents may never recover.

Exactly how much it costs to raise a child is the subject of much debate. A Fraser Institute study last month pegged it at $3,000 to $4,000 a year—or $72,000 to raise a child to 18. It’s a figure that excludes both housing and child care costs, emphasizes scrimping and saving, government child benefits and borrowing from family or friends. Meanwhile, an analysis by MoneySense in 2011 estimated it would cost considerably more: $243,660, or close to the $241,080 calculated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Yet even such huge figures are “woefully insufficient,” says John Ward, a Kansas economist who consults on economic damages for legal disputes, including wrongful death cases involving children. For one thing, Ward says, most of these analyses do not take into account societal costs, such as the property taxes all homeowners pay to support public education. While they do take into account some of the added housing costs associated with growing families, they don’t include a host of other expenses, such as the cost of saving for a university education. Tuition is expected to reach close to $40,000 for a four-year degree in Canada by the time today’s infant heads off to university—or as much as $110,000, including the cost of textbooks and accommodation. Add to this the opportunity costs of raising children: the investment returns that parents could have earned if they had taken the money they spent on kids and saved it instead—at five per cent interest, that comes out to roughly $280,000—and the lost income from having one parent take time off work to care for a child. “If mom was a lawyer and dropped out of the labour force for four or five years, the family gave up the opportunity cost of maybe $60,000 to $100,000 a year in order to bring that child to a point where he could enter the education system,” says Ward. Statistics Canada estimates that even mothers who work full-time stand to earn 12 per cent less over their careers than women who have never had children, a “motherhood penalty” equal to roughly $108,000 over 18 years on a $50,000 salary.

Ward pegs the all-in cost of raising a child to 18 in the U.S. at around $700,000, or closer to $900,000 to age 22, which is a more realistic picture for today’s families. The calculations work out similarly in Canada, where the total cost of raising a child to 18, including lost income, forgone investment savings and the price of a college education, comes out to around $670,000. For those dreaming of two children, that’s likely to cost well over $1 million.

It shouldn’t be a shock, then, that young parents are the most financially squeezed of any families in the country. Statistics Canada estimates that couples with children account for 30 per cent of households, but more than half of all of Canada’s household debt. Two-parent families with children under the age of 24 averaged $157,000 in debt, or $33,000 more than couples without children.

By far the largest sticker shock that new parents face comes from child care costs, which run from Quebec’s subsidized $7-a-day child care centres, equal to around $140 a month, to as much as $2,000 a month in major cities. Toronto screenwriter Trevor Finn caused a heated debate last month when he wrote in the Globe and Mail that he and his wife earned a combined six-figure income and couldn’t afford both the $1,600 a month in daycare and their small downtown condo.

The Vanier Institute of the Family says that, on average, it costs the typical Canadian family $1,000 to $1,200 a month to put a two-year-old in full-time daycare, or the equivalent to paying the principal on a $360,000 house over the life of a typical 25-year mortgage. “Child care costs are, in some cases, the same as you pay in rent,” says Nora Spinks, the institute’s CEO. “For many families, it is on the borderline of affordability.”

That’s if parents can find a daycare spot at all. It’s not uncommon for wait lists for licensed child care to stretch more than a year. The Vanier Institute estimates there are regulated child care spaces for just 22 per cent of Canadian children under the age of six. That lack of affordable options has led to a booming market for nannies and babysitters. Between 1998 and 2012, the number of people employed in child care in Canada jumped 65 per cent, from 20,800 to 34,400, compared to overall job growth of just 28 per cent for the entire economy, according to Statistics Canada data. Wages in the sector have nearly doubled, from an average of $6.87 an hour to $11.74, growth that has outpaced both inflation and the average wage growth across Canada. According to CanadianNanny.ca, the minimum wage for live-in domestic help averages out to $19,000-$21,000 a year, not including room and board.

That shortage has fed what Spinks calls the “black market” for child care: from parents paying a network of neighbours under the table to watch their kids, to unlicensed and unregulated daycares. Last month, Evtropova and Vyacheslav Ravikovich filed a $3.5-million lawsuit against the Ontario government after their two-year-old daughter, Eva, died in an unlicensed daycare north of Toronto in July. Investigators allege there were 35 children registered at the home-based centre. Parents reported paying an average of $550 a month. It’s horror stories like this that keep parents vying for licensed spots, whether they can afford them or not.

The situation is particularly dire in major cities, where even the cost of home-based care can force parents to look at moving somewhere less expensive, says Kristin Harad, a San Francisco financial planner who specializes in helping parents prepare for the cost of a new baby. “The sad fact is that, when someone calls me and tells me they make $150,000, I’m like: ‘Oh goodness, do you have family nearby? How is this going to work?’ ”

If they don’t want to move, they typically end up scrimping and saving in other ways, with the effects rippling well beyond their pocketbooks. “People don’t realize the trickle-down effect,” she says. “What if you and your spouse want to go out on the weekend? I’m seeing a lot of parents cutting corners, and that adds up over time. Next thing you know, it’s been two, three, or four years, and they haven’t gone on a date with their spouse and the relationship starts to suffer.”

Expectant parents also tend to focus on the wrong costs, says Harad. New parents often come to Harad, worried they haven’t started a college education fund for their baby. Instead, she counsels her clients, who are typically in their 30s, to focus on what she calls the “bookends” of their financial plan: a short-term emergency fund and long-term retirement savings, both of which end up getting sacrificed in the all-consuming cost of raising children. “Parents are always surprised, because then I layer in things like: You’ll need life insurance and disability insurance,” she says. “Then I bring up vacationing and the extra ticket on the airline, or the suite instead of the single room. That’s where the surprises kick in. Parents don’t have a good sense of what it realistically costs to have children.”

Sarah and Chris Jefferies actually sat down to draw up a budget before they had son Jackson, 4, and daughter Emma, 10 months. Even then, the Victoria couple says they were shocked by how expensive raising children turned out to be. “It was all the stuff like activities that we didn’t factor in,” says Sarah, 28, who works for the B.C. government. “It was $100 a month for gymnastics, $50 every three months for swimming. It was when they’re sick and having to take time off work after sick days that are unpaid. Or when the daycare is shut down for two weeks at a time and having to take time off work for that.”

Emma’s birth last November doubled the couple’s child care costs, from $800 to $1,600 a month, or slightly more than what they pay to rent their three-bedroom townhouse. The Jefferies sat down with a financial adviser, who estimated they would have to save $40,000 per child toward their future education costs. That’s meant another $200 a month into RESPs for each child.

Sarah took 16 months off work when Jackson was born, including four months unpaid. But she couldn’t afford to do the same with Emma and has since gone back to work on a modified schedule. “With child care being so high, it’s sometimes not even worth it going back to work,” she says. “But my job is the one with the benefits and the pension.”

In total, the Jefferies estimate they spend close to $32,000 a year on child-related costs—equivalent to $672,000 over 21 years—not including the nearly $34,000 on housing, transportation and food for the two of them, the $300 a month that goes toward paying off their student loans, or the vacation they’re taking this month to Disneyland.

The rising cost of children is a significant factor in the broad decline of fertility rates across the industrialized world, and one reason why government policies aimed at encouraging women to have more babies have been largely unsuccessful. Since 1960, Canada’s fertility rate—the number of children a woman can expect to have over her lifetime—has dropped from 3.81 per woman to 1.63. “If economic factors were decisive, no one in modern societies would have any children,” wrote American demographer Kingsley Davis in the forward of The Cost of Children in the Urban United States, the seminal 1976 study that first pegged the cost of raising a child to 18 at three times the average middle-class income. That has only gone up as child-related expenses have risen faster than both wages and inflation. According to the World Values Survey, conducted by social scientists, Canadians typically say they want one more child than they actually end up having, with money as the top reason for the difference.

Governments frequently wring their hands about what falling fertility rates will mean for the future labour force of advanced countries. But having fewer children can actually be a good thing for the economy, says Lauren Sandler, author of One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child, and the Joy of Being One, released in June. “If you have fewer children, you have more money available for a different level of purchasing,” says Sandler, a mother of one. “If you have fewer children, they tend to be better educated and more successful in their careers.” Despite the social and ethical implications of China’s one-child policy, Sandler says it has nonetheless helped the country’s economy by concentrating a large amount of investment into a smaller number of children.

The increasing pressure on parents to invest in their children’s future has fundamentally reshaped not only how much we spend on our kids, but where and when we spend that money. Researchers from the universities of Pittsburgh and Sydney examined 35 years worth of data on spending by parents, focusing on discretionary costs such as child care, education, toys, clothes and accessories. They found that, not only had spending on children tripled, even when adjusted for inflation, but parents were paying more for their children over longer periods of time.

In 1972, they found that parents spent comparatively little on children under the age of six and those older than 19. The bulk of spending was concentrated on teenagers who were preparing to leave home to go to college or into the working world. By 2007, that pattern had essentially reversed. Today’s parents spend the most on infants and college-aged adult children, reflecting the rising cost of both child care and education.

That is partly explained by the number of adult children still living at home with their parents, which has jumped from 27 per cent of twentysomethings in 1981 to 42 per cent as of 2011. A Leger Marketing poll for CIBC this summer found that more than a third of parents with children under age 25 said they had put off their retirement plans to help pay for their children’s post-secondary education. It’s a trend that’s likely to continue, as people are having kids at a later age, limiting the amount of time they have after their children leave the nest to prepare for life after work.

Spending on children had also risen much faster among low-income parents than the wealthiest households, the Pittsburgh study found, as parents fought to secure their children a place in the precarious middle class. In 2007, low-income parents spent 14 per cent of their income on things such as education, clothes and child care, compared to 4.5 per cent in 1972. But even wealthy parents were spending more of their income on their children than they did in the past, reflecting, the researchers found, a fear that their children would slip out of the upper echelons of society.

Perversely, researchers have found that the more children cost, the more parents say they enjoy their kids. In a 2011 study from the University of Waterloo, psychologists gave a group of parents information on both the cost of raising children and the benefits, such as the ways that children help support their aging parents. A second group of parents heard only of the costs. When they later surveyed parents on how they felt about their children, those who had learned only of the costs were more likely to say they valued the time they spend with their children compared to parents who had also learned about the benefits, suggesting that parents find emotional ways to justify the enormous financial toll that having children takes on their lives.

And, despite the costs, having children is almost always an emotional decision, rather than a financial one. “You ask someone who decided not to have children and they can give you very clear reasons: their career, they don’t like children, they had a horrible childhood,” says Spinks. “When you ask a parent why they decided to have a child, they have a lot of difficulty explaining why. They make that decision in their heart. They don’t do a cost-benefit analysis first.” That usually comes later, she says, when parents start considering what it will mean to keep growing their families.

It’s one reason the Jefferies are carefully weighing the prospect of having another child, even though they’re still coming to terms with the sheer cost of raising the two they already have. “We both came from big families and we want more,” Sarah says. “But they’re really expensive. We’d at least like to own a house before we throw another kid into the mix.”

Illustrations by Sarah Lazarovic.


Million-dollar babies

  1. I only wish MacLeans as thoroughly debunked EVERYTHING published by the right wing charlatans at the Fraser Institute.

  2. And if we want more Canadians we need national daycare….otherwise it’s millions more immigrants.

    • Brilliant.
      I can hardly wait to contribute the additional $ 1000.00 bucks a year in taxes to pay for socialized daycare.
      After I scrape up the grand, I`ll send the tax collector over to your house.

      • Oh you poor thing!

        Taxes are the price of civilization.

        If you don’t like taxes….move to Somalia.

        • Oh, but I love taxes. And I know you must also.
          Now, be sure to remind all your readers that these perks of a beautiful civilized country have to be paid for with everybody`s taxes, even those who are well beyond their child-raising years.
          I know you are ready to send off that extra grand in tax, and we thank-you for that, but be sure to remind all your socialist followers that the beautiful civilized society can be a tad expensive.

          • Oh I figured you loved taxes….since we haven’t heard a word of protest out of you about F-35s.

            Priorities, dude….priorities.

          • Oh, and don`t forget about orange juice and gazebos etc.

          • Well that’s Harper for ya.

          • Harper and Liberals are 2 sides of the same coin. They oppose each other in petty issues but have the same mind on all big issues. It’s just a performance put on for the little people to make them think their politicians are actually serving them, instead of serving their billionaire masters.

          • We all know that politicians lie, but we don’t all know why they lie. The reason why they lie is because they need your vote to get into office. Then when they get elected into office they start serving the agendas of their real masters – the bankers and billionaire business men who couldn’t care less what’s good for the little people.
            I pity you, if you can’t see past the farce that is passed off as Democracy in this country.

          • Humans aren’t that organized.

          • Speak for yourself, thank you, you judge other people by the way you are, “not good”

          • I believe I was talking to GuiMaster who is into conspiracy theory.

          • It’s amazing that we’ve gotten to the place where people are completely comfortable and actually proud of how they don’t want to help anyone else around them. We are a society. We contribute what we can to help raise up the nation as a whole and to help those who may need it. As someone who is beyond your child-raising years, I am quite sure you will be benefitting in many ways from my tax dollars.

          • Hear hear!

          • I don’t want children and I don’t want to pay child care for other peoples children.

          • You always pay. Either you pay for child-care and schooling to raise kids who are socially well adjusted and can get decent jobs or you pay for more police, higher crime insurance premiums, and more of society on welfare as socially maladjusted kids who can’t get good jobs find other ways to survive.

            The difference is.. the kids in the latter situation can do a lot more serious damage to you and yours than the taxes will.. and will be a lot less fair about the application thereof.

          • Most of today’s citizens, the solid upright law abiding productive citizens, did not go to government daycare and came out just fine.

          • Nor did they have both parents working, or most jobs and careers requiring a post-secondary degree. While both fruit, apples and oranges are different.

          • Irrelevant to the idea you present that those not entrusted to government daycare will degenerate into criminals.

          • Entirely relevant, if you have any understanding of child-rearing and psychology.

          • The psychological evidence of the benefits of state childcare is mixed at best. The most comprehensive longitudinal study ever done on the Swedish system found that those who went to daycare had worse outcomes. A smaller scale Canadian study out of UBC found the same thing. There are no doubt other studies that refute this.

          • I understand full well that government daycares are not a requirement to become an honest and contributory citizen.

          • And if the world existed in binary states only, you’d have a point.

          • Here’s a wake up call…if you should ever end up in the hospital due to any number of grave circumstances, others will have payed for your hospital bills through taxes.

            But I guess you don’t want to go to the hospital and you don’t want to pay for other peoples’ hospital bills. Well that’s fine because they don’t either.

            But they do. And that’s because we live in a moderate system here in Canada that rests somewhere between capitalist (a.k.a the USA) and socialist (a.k.a China and Russia). This point is also for cawm as well.

          • Twit. I’d rather not pay for your health care or retirement.

    • A national daycare program doesn’t save any costs. It just shifts the costs from one party to another party, or the initial party paying the same costs in a circuitous route indirectly. The costs don’t go away or disappear. There is no free lunch.

      The fairest most straightforward way for governments to subsidize families with children is decide on how big society wants the subsidy to be and then cut the family a cheque, and let them decide how to spend it, whether it be on daycare, or piano lessons, or for Justin’s legal marijuana. And it would probably make sense to make the subsidy means dependent to some extent.

      • No, it just brings out the bumper sticker ideologues.

      • It’s not just about costs with a national daycare program, but about availability and standards. Clearly, the “invisible hand” is not doing its job when it comes to childcare. It’s not just a question of cost in Toronto, but actual availability. There simply aren’t enough daycares. This is not the case in Quebec.

        • Actually, there is a huge waiting list in Quebec for daycare spaces. It is not uncommon for people to put their name on waiting lists when they are pregnant. In addition, some research suggests that the quality of care in Quebec daycare is not always excellent as a result of the budget allocated to them.

      • A national daycare program does save costs. It’s called economies of scale. When you can create one large facility to take the place of two or three independent facilities, you can realize cost savings. It’s that simple.

        • The biggest costs are inevitably labor costs. Therefore, the child-care workers will continue to be very poorly paid. That is how they are currently saving money in healthcare in Alberta. Hiring lowcost healthcare aides instead of nurses. You cannot have high quality and cheap at the same time. It isn’t possible.

        • It is anything but that simple.

          • Yes, when human beings are involved, it doesn’t run quite like a factory. The healthcare business teaches us that.

      • actually, it does save costs as it puts those parents in the workforce and they give more back (in taxes) than they do when they can’t afford to work

    • What’s wrong with immigrants?

      • Nothing. We’re all immigrants. But wingers on here don’t like them either.

        Don’t like day care, don’t like immigrants, don’t like children really….they’re just big on saving money.

        • The largest and most obnoxious proponents of ‘family values’ don’t like children? This is definitely news to me.

          • Keep reading…..if kids keep women home, and don’t cost anything, and you can kick them out at 16, they’re okay.


  3. Income-splitting would be nice. But of course that’s dependent (supposedly) on Harper ever balancing the budget. I.e. it will never happen.

    • This comment was deleted.

      • They don’t lose, they just don’t get a slice of that particular pie. Think before you use all caps.

        Anyway it’s definitely two-income families who are eager to suck up single-income families’ tax dollars with subsidised daycare. Thanks for screwing us you materialistic a-holes.

        • you said “would be nice”. I think an average reader would take that to mean generally. If you meant “nice for a limited and arbitrary portion of teh whole”, you probably should have said as much.

          • I think a reader with more than half a brain would take “it would be nice” to mean “it would be nice FOR ME” by default.

          • I was going to just make a mean retort, but now I am wondering if it is possible that when public policy is being discussed, a moderate’s natural default is to assume we are discussing the best plan for society as a whole, while a conservative automatically assumes everyone will know he means he is talking about what is the best for him or her-self. It would explain a great deal, certainly.

            You’ve definitely given me a lot to think about, here.

      • Barely 5 figures??? That’s a lotta pie where where I come from…….

        • I appreciate your austerity and commend you, but it can be difficult to support a spouse and child on $10,000

  4. Incredible that there is only the smallest mention of Quebec in this article where the worst case option for day care is a private institution at $43 a day, a cost of which is significantly reimbursed by the government (in our case as a double income family it works out to about $16 a day). There are fewer spaces available, but still a significant amount of C.P.E.’s (centres de la petite enfance) which cost $7 a day. I believe there is something like a two-year wait for spaces at CPE’s, and there are issues with funding for sure. Nevertheless, Quebec is far and away the best place to raise a child (financially speaking) in the country. The daycare plan here was going to be rolled out nationally until the Conservatives won their first minority government and scrapped it.

    I know there is a lot of hating on Quebec and a lot of theoretical freaking out about taxes, but the reality in the rest of Canada, as well demonstrated by this article, is that Canada cannot afford to ignore the system of daycare in place here.

    • Couldn`t agree more.
      What is most brilliant about the Quebec government daycare is that they have not had to raise taxes to pay for this generous service. A simple increase in equalization payments from Western Canadian provinces has allowed them to provide the service while allowing those idiots with narrow and selfish minds to assume it must be free because the government pays for it.

      • If the “Western Canadian provinces” are doing so much better than PQ, then what is stopping them from making affordable, accessible daycare a priority?

        • Exactly !
          They could increase government spending on all kinds of socialist engineering projects, to the point where they ran up massive deficits……….then, they wouldn`t have to pay equalization payments. They would have government run daycare paid for with their taxes. Quebec could then choose to pay for their own daycare.
          Beautiful. Hope they get right on it.

        • Maybe the reason they’re doing better economically is because they don’t have the massive government overhead and high taxes of Quebec. The only western province currently getting equalization is the economically backward Manitoba. The other three western provinces don’t have the benefit of the large federal equalization transfers that Quebec receives, so funding daycare would have to be done “in house” so to speak.

          • That’s crap, Ranter. Quebec could entirely eliminate its funded daycare system, or triple it, and it would make absolutely no difference as to their transfer payments.

            A province doesn’t get transfer payments based on what it spends, it gets transfer payments based on comparing per-capita federal tax revenue between provinces.

          • Where the hell did I suggest they get money because they spend money? I said the opposite: They spend more money because they get more money. They get it from equalization and from higher provincial taxes. Of course, those high taxes also have their costs – i.e. a chronically weak economy.

        • I was a stay at home mom, and I am not interested in paying other people’ babysitters. Thank you

      • Oh Christ, get a clue. No province.. NO PROVINCE.. pays anything in “equalization payments”

        Provinces *receive* equalization payments.

        Equalization payments come from individual federal taxes. Basically, if people earn more, they pay more to the feds. The feds then look at the revenue they get, and pay out “equalization payments” in such amounts as to make sure the provinces receive roughly the same amount of revenue per capita each.

        If you think some province is paying too much to the feds, that’s because the people there make more. You’re essentially protesting higher wages.

        Funny thing is, in the western provinces, specifically Alberta, you would actually have a point. Because out here, the provincial government subsidizes the oil industry so much they can offer wages that are well above what the rest of the market can easily afford. Which is why we suck so much at diversification.. the best and brightest of the Albertans tend to get sucked into the oil industry where they make subsidized wages.

        • No government subsidizes the oil industry.

          In marked contrast the industry pays billions of dollars to governments in income tax, EI, CPP, HST-GST-PST, property tax, business tax, excise tax, royalties, corporate income tax, employer CPP and EI, grants in lieu of tax, taxes on top of taxes, and I’ve probably missed a few others.

          The oil and gas industry is a huge source of revenue, not a sink for subsidies.

          • Really? So if I open a pet-store in a neighborhood and it goes under, I can claim those costs against my taxes?

            Because if I drill a well and it comes out dry, those “exploration” costs can be deferred.

            Does my pet store get a reduced rate on the water it uses for it’s operations? Because the oil industry does. Is my pet store able to purchase its supplies from the government for one of the lowest rates across the globe? Because the oil industry does.

            Do they pay some taxes on what they do? Sure. Are they subsidized in their operations when compared to any other industry out here? Damn straight.

          • You’re talking about the expensing and/or capitalizing of business costs that every company in the country can claim. They aren’t unique to the oil industry. And you can claim business losses against your own income. Where CRA will disallow them is when it is obvious that your business never had a chance of turning a profit. A business cannot be operated for the sole purpose of creating business deductions from your main source of income. (That doesn’t stop a lot of wealthy people from using very complex tax planning strategies and doing just that, but that’s another argument entirely.)

          • If your pet store goes under, then your capital costs are deductible. That’s true of any business. And your operating costs (rent, utilities, supplies, etc) are all deductible too. For the oil industry, though, a major chunk of their costs, namely royalties, is not deductible for tax purposes, unlike for other resource industries like mining.

            The oil industry doesn’t get any ‘reduced rate’ on water from any government. Their offices all pay the same municipal rates as any other business.

            The industry gets its supplies from a wide range of suppliers, but rarely from governments.

          • They’re deductible AFTER it goes under. Not before. Unlike the oil companies, a pet store can’t buy a massive water-pump and write off the costs of that pump that same year.

            Royalties are not a deductible cost because that’s the friggin’ purchase price for the Alberta assets. That’s the supply that you say they rarely get from governments. That oil isn’t a private entities until we the public sell it to them. Christ, now you want them to have that for free as well?

            As for water, you understand that the oil sands operations just take it from the Athabasca river right? That’s what half the capital jobs are up there.. them building pumps to pull out the water. They pay nothing for it.

            And that’s not even getting into the environmental subsidies, like the government itself estimating that the total clean-up bill for the area will be in the neighborhood of 20 times what the industry has been required to set aside to clean. What the hell is that if not a subsidy?

            And that’s saying nothing about the twinning of highway 63.. something that is only being done because of the traffic generated by the oilsands. If I decide to build my farm out in the boonies, you think the government is going to pay to build a road out to it for me?

        • Exactly, my boy.
          If the provinces that do not receive equalization payments did not have such strong economies then the people who work there would not have so much of their taxes going to pay for childcare in Quebec.
          What you need to do is cripple those have-provinces. Drive their economies into the ground. I can see by your anti- oil- revenue stance that you are well on your way to doing your part.
          I congratulate you.

          • It’s not going to pay for childcare in Quebec. That’s the part that you don’t get. Quebec could eliminate their entire social safety net and they’d *still* get the same amount. Blaming it on the childcare program just shows how ignorant you are.

            As for me being anti-oil revenue, again, just another demonstration of your ignorance.. well.. that or your illiteracy. As it’s pretty obvious to anybody who reads that I actually think Alberta deserves a hell of a lot more of its oil revenue than its getting.

          • I like what you`re doing.
            Encourage Quebec to eliminate their entire social safety net and soon their economy would be booming, investment and wages would increase so rapidly that Quebec would soon be a Have Province and equalization payments would be flowing to your beloved Alberta.
            P.S. Don`t be ashamed about your dislike for the oil business.

    • Your assertion that Quebec-style daycare was about to be rolled out nationally by a Martin government is completely incorrect. Paul Martin promised $1 billion in daycare funding to all ten provinces. That amount wouldn’t wouldn’t even come close to replicating Quebec’s system anywhere else. In 1988, Mulroney promised $4 billion per year to fund a national daycare plan somewhat similar to what Quebec has now. He promptly disavowed that promise right after being relected in November 1988. $4 billion per year in 1988 would be the equivalent of about $6 billion per year in 2005 when Martin was promising a mere $1 billion. So the RoC would have had approximately 1/6 the daycare plan Quebec has now. I don’t know where people get this idea that a universal daycare plan would be anything like affordable. Quebec gets massive equalization transfers, PLUS has the highest provincial taxes in the land, and that’s the only reason they can fund the system they have.

    • Quebec daycare is so cheap, that welfare recipients can afford it, and ” do use it”. Double dipping, and, easily done. Vive le qbk

  5. The many sacrifices listed to be able to afford to have children make me wonder what exactly is this article trying to say. Isn’t having children a necessary part of what makes us human? Exactly how long would we survive if we all thought “I cannot afford them.”
    I anticipate a future Canada filled with Catholics, Mennonites and Muslims who seem to be the only ones who understand this elementary truth. The rest of you will be living in senior care homes being cared for by our children, supported by taxes our children earn, and wondering where the 0.5 children you had are, and why they don’t come to visit.

    • Fun fact: adoption and immigration are real things.

    • I find the fact that so many people in this comment section are expressing the notion that a basic biological function that everything above the lowest micro-organisms are capable of preforming is ‘part of what makes us human’ to be intensely saddening. People ought to aspire to be more then tool-using rodents.

      • Yah, because that’s the only benefit of having children, to reproduce and leave our genes behind. Ever hear of the demographic crunch? It’s real. And immigration won’t solve it. Can’t solve it. If you don’t now realize why we need kids, you soon will.

        • The fact that reproduction is a necessity to the continued survival of a society means it’s a basic requirement, not that it’s some sort of noble human pursuit.

          • It can be both. And why shouldn’t it be? Nobody said it was fun to have kids. But it should be rewarding. Few things worth doing are easy to do.

          • Anything can be rewarding. I can slip on ice, bash my nose in, and decide that I just had a grand old time. Likewise, I can be trapped in a house with a bunch of shrieking brats day in and day out until my hearing goes, and I can definitely tell myself that it was a great experience.

            Thankfully, I am not a complete idiot, nor am I insane, so logically both strike me as extremely bad ideas.

  6. Hmm…what exactly is the point of this article, other than a getting people to read it? I thought a necessary part of being human was to have babies. If this article is a good example of how people consider children, then I envision a future Canada filled with Muslims, Mennonites and the few Catholics who seem to be the only ones who understand this elemental truth. Consider this in twenty years when you are sitting in your senior’s care home being cared for by other people’s children, supported by other people’s children’s taxes, while you wonder why your 0.5 children don’t come visit you.

  7. Leave school and get a job. Help your parents by paying them rent. Save your money. Get free job related training from your employer or night classes. Save your money. Find a partner with similar values. Buy a small house, finish paying for it. Have kids. One parent stays home (you can take turns). Forget Disneyland and travel other than to campsites. Don’t be a consumer, kids enjoy used clothes and toys and they’re free.
    Tell your kids from the beginning that after they finish school they are on their own, tell them about scholarships.
    Cost? lots of fun and very merry Christmases for years to come.

    • Don’t do any of the above….that’s how people had to live in the last century. It’s called poverty.

      • One daughter stays home and looks after her child, another has a degree, pays lots of tax and owns her own home. Where’s the poverty in that?

        • Standard life for the last century….not much progress in that.

          • Define progress. From a group of loving, caring people willing to support each other…… to what?

          • I’m sure cave families were loving caring people willing to support each other. But they still lived in a cave.

            Any grandchildren? Trust fund for their education set up?

            Money for retirement? Travelled anywhere?

            Haven’t you ever wanted to do something with your life…..or was reproduction your only aim?

          • My grandchildren will choose and look after their own education.

            I have toured Europe, the Middle East and North and South America. Family trip planned to UK for next year.

            Retired, debt free, home owner, happy.

          • Not your responsibility to help your kids up the ladder…or contribute anything to the world eh?

            Just plug away.

            Ants do that.

            Hey, your choice.

          • Did I mention that we also had foster kids? They also have to be self sufficient by the age of 16, they have no choice, no trust funds.
            You can show someone a ladder and explain it’s purpose but you can’t help them climb without endangering two lives.

          • Ants don’t get ahead either. Ant hills are the same now as they were thousands of years ago.

            But like I said, it’s your choice.

          • I guess it depends where your values lie….. People and relationships or temporal shit that will burn.

          • Emily typifies the Limousine Liberal attitude. Trust funds for the kids. Lot’s of foreign travel. Lots of gadgets and toys. But no real values or sense of purpose. And anyone who would dare point out just how hollow, shallow and just plain arbitrary such an existence is, is either a CON or a Marxist, or maybe a hippy, depending on how she’s feeling that day. Anyone who doesn’t treat the world as a giant playground, anyone who believes in making sacrifices, anyone who rejects consumerist excess, or who places a priority on family and friends, as opposed to “achievement” and acquisitions, is just a caveman. It’s no wonder mental illness is so high nowadays, particularly among women. I wonder how many thousands of ladder-climbing lawyers and wannabe corporate execs have precisely the same atittude as her. Sadly, she’s the tip of the iceburg. There’s an entire generation of jaded, bitter alcoholics and pill poppers following in her footsteps. We’ll be seeing a lot of new members of the 8000+ Comments Club very soon.

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          • That wasn’t a personal attack. It was an observation. You show up promoting some sort of empty, hedonistic life where the only thing that matters is how “successful” you are, and you complain about a personal attack when I point out the obvious? I never suggested you were an alcoholic or pill popper. I simply stated that the attitude you espouse – that we can derive meaing from career achievement, acquisitiveness, and material “progress”, is dead wrong, and has already lead a lot of people down the miserable path of addiction and depression. We would do well to step back from that nonsense a little bit, stop watching HGTV (seriously, for Gawd’s sake, stop watching that crap) and think about what is really important. Life will not be better with one more new gadget or one more multi-billion dollar social program.

          • This comment was deleted.

          • You would actually have to look for knowledge, Emily.

            Many of your posts reveal an abject refusal to accept any knowledge that does not correspond to your preconceived ideas.

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          • Quod erat demonstrandum.

          • If you are “promoting a life searching for knowledge.. and reaching for the stars…” then why are you on Disqus spewing your unhappyness?
            I doubt you realize how petty and unintelligent you come across. Then again, ants don’t realize their insignificance either. You should never have compared anyone to ants or cave dwellers, those words come back to haunt you.

          • This comment was deleted.

          • You work online and only pop in on breaks or when things are slow? It must have been excruciatingly slow for the last few years to run up 8400 plus posts on Maclean.ca alone. Face it, your entire life is online. The real world has passed you by and you seek validation online in a virtual universe where you pretend to be all the things you could never be in real life. 8440 posts of approximately 1 minute per post equates to 5.86 days of nothing but blog posting on one site over the last few years! Think about that before you compare someone to a cave dweller or an ant. I’m sure cave dwellers found more enlightening things to do in a day than you do.

          • Well see…it only takes a ‘click’ to be here. I have 7 windows open at the moment. It’s not like I have to travel. LOL

            Yes, my entire life is online and has been for years. I make good money that way.

            You really should get a new calendar.

          • It may only take a click to be here, but it takes time to write the posts. 1 minute per post is a low estimate. The time you’ve spent writing on this blog may be much higher.

            So you admit your entire life is online and has been for years? That’s obvious to anyone who’s read your posts. I’d pity you if you weren’t so small minded and arrogant. That good money you talk about, qualify that statement and tell us what exactly you do. I doubt you are capable of telling the truth though. Here’s an exercise for you – try venturing out into the real world and interact with real people. Try going one day without posting (maybe start with one hour of not posting – baby steps).

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          • A dog thinks fast when it chooses to bark, that doesn’t mean it is capable of rational thought. The topic is you and your narcissistic habit of calling down anyone who disagrees with your twisted view of the world. Someone who spends their life online is a lot like someone who spends their life in a cave – just saying. Do you have any hobbies outside of your life online? I can tell I’ve touched a nerve with you…

          • This comment was deleted.

          • Read the macleans article called “What your dog thinks of you” or something similar. It’s revealing. Animals think a lot more than we give them credit for.

          • More than you, I agree.

          • At least dogs can be trained to control their barking, I’m not so sure about you. If you’re 67 then you’re old enough to know your behaviour makes you look like a boor with an undersized brain.

          • This comment was deleted.

          • Nice try, but I’m not a right winger. You’ve obviously been on break for a very long time. Don’t try to continue the lie, you aren’t even employed. You sit at home and post constantly because no one in the real world will listen to you.

          • Yeah you are…right winger, teabagger, Libertarian…and hilarious!

            Ciao baby.

          • Libertarian yes, right winger no. The two don’t even belong in the same sentence, but you wouldn’t know that as you are so politically unaware and intellectually stunted. I’ll challenge you to not post for an entire 24 hours. I’ll be you can’t as you have no life and it’s your only outlet.

          • Yup, Libertarian teabag nut. Rightwinger whether you like it or not.

            Even Ayn Rand said you lot were crazy

            Mooches, the whole bunch of you. Big mouth, no brains

            And just now realizing a 67 year old grannie has been playing with you all afternoon…..LOL

            Ciao Mr Mouse.

          • Baby steps, that was barely 1/2 hour you went before posting. You just proved my point, you have no life away from the internet. You’ve been posting the same blather “right winger”, “big mouth”, yet cannot deny my point that you’re a sad case seeking validation through the internet.

          • Go easy on her. I usually end up feeling kind of guilty after kicking her ass in yet another argument. Hell, her own links usually contradict what she’s trying to say.

          • She brings it on herself. Narcissism has a way of biting her in the @ss.

          • Your entire life is online? You ARE an ant!

          • You have a very odd idea of how ants live then.

          • By the way, the irony of you promoting an expensive new social program like universal childcare, while at the same time scolding another commenter for not setting up tax shelters for his grandchildren seems to be completely lost on you. But I noticed it. That’s called cognitive dissonance. Look it up.

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          • Any grandchildren? Trust fund for their education set up?

            Are you denying the words above? A trust fund is a form of tax shelter. Otherwise there’s no point having one. Since you seem to be suggesting that he is negligent for not setting these trust funds up for his gks, I can only assume you are promoting tax shelters.

          • This comment was deleted.

          • So you just said ‘trust fund’, but you didn’t really mean trust fund. You meant… some other fund. Right, we all use trust fund just like that. How foolish of me to misinterpret.

            Or…. maybe you actually have trust funds set up for each of your grandkids, and admitted as much accidentally. Any chance of that? Wouldn’t surprise me. Engaging in some sophisticated form of family income splitting through a tax planner while denouncing anyone who would suggest income splitting be allowed on the T1 return is typical silver spoon socialist behaviour.

          • EmilyOne’s comments on this thread give a glimpse into her vacuous existence. Comparing someone to a cave-dweller or an ant for daring to suggest any notion contrary to her sheltered little world-view is just pathetic. She obviously isn’t happy with her lot in life, and her coping mechanism is lashing out at others on blogs. Her views are typical of someone who has spent their life sponging off of society and contributing nothing.
            Cave dwellers painted on walls – EmilyOne writes 8400 plus posts on Disqus. Ants spend their days doing the same tasks over and over again, much like EmilyOne’s habit of writing her narcissistic ramblings. Maybe that’s what she considers progress?

          • Yup, shoving your kids out the door when they’re sixteen sure says “plac(ing) priority on family and friends” to me.

          • Why is spending one’s life travelling and acquiring new possessions and experiences more ‘vacuous and arbitrary’ then digging a rut in somewhere and raising some shrieking offspring? Surely there are better things one can do with their lives then spend the supermajority of their time making sure a bunch of miniature idiots someday become less miniature and idiotic.

          • The miniature idiots will some day be paying taxes to subsidize your geriatric care. That’s kind of important. Even hedonists get old and have to quit partying and travelling at some point.

          • You’re side-stepping the general question. Why is reproducing a more inherently noble occupation then other things?

          • Serving others is always more noble than chasing possessions or globe-trotting. It goes to the core of what you mean by ‘noble’. Serving one’s self isn’t noble. It just isn’t. We call that greed, or narcissism, or shallowness. Not pretty words, and for good reason. There are few greater sacrifices than raising the next generation. I would say that this by itself qualifies raising a family as more noble than not raising one. Like I said, I have no kids. But I have no trouble admitting that regardless of what I do, my life will have been less noble than if I’d have had them.

          • By this metric, your typical field mouse is hundreds of times more noble then any human being can possibly ever be in their lifetime.

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          • Yes, amazing the number of people on here who don’t want children to cost any money, or cause any inconvenience, or get in the way, or have any needs ….like education.

            Raise em on the cheap, boot em out asap, and carry on.

          • I think you miss the point. A parent can give 1on1 lessons in honesty, respect, fairness etc. better than any daycare environment. Your children will remember, you will remember their first word and first step. This costs nothing other than lost potential income. Staying by a dying parent’s bedside costs nothing other than lost potential income.
            I would rather end my life surrounded by a “poor” family than die alone knowing they had all reached the top of the ladder.

          • That is your opinion….that’s not the way it works in real life.

            Kids often spout hatred, racism, sexism, and utter ignorance….and they learned it all at home.

            Yeah, you want support on your death bed rather than successful kids…..selfish.

          • OK you win. I’m a selfish caveman/ant and not part of your family.
            Thank the Lord.

          • Yeah….the ‘Lord’….that’s the backdrop here.

            Not progress, not building anything, not contributing to the world, or evolving…..jes bible-thumping.

    • Well said….My husband and I raised four children, had a wonderful life with lots of family and vacation time and have had very little debt in our lives. We both retired at the age of 60 and have saved enough to take care of ourselves for our retirement years. I don’t see any of our children as deprived, but all are healthy adults making their own living and caring for their own children. The cost of not having children is a very lonely life. These articles never take into consideration that young families can help each other greatly by sharing clothes and toys with other families when their children grow out of them, and that young adults are quite capable of working their way through College or University, and many are capable of earning great scholarships to assist them along the way. Enjoy your children and stop worrying about all the dollars it costs to raise them…they are well worth the cost, which is far less than this article indicates.

      • If you’ve already retired, odds are you haven’t a clue what it costs to raise kids anymore, sorry.

        College or university costs have more than tripled since even your own kids went. And while there are certainly scholarships out there, competition for them is more intense than ever before because a bachelor’s degree is an entry requirement for *most* careers these days.

        Whether kids are worth the cost is, of course, an entirely subjective decision, but to handwave away the costs as meaningless is simply to demonstrate your ignorance.

        • If your child (not you) insists on a degree for a future career try telling them to cut the neighbors grass for a few dollars. Ask for cash for birthdays etc. Teach them to save. If they don’t have enough when the time comes let them get a mundane job for a year or two. Point out that a degree in certain subjects will not help. It’s called Tough Love and produces responsible, confident adults.

          • According to progressives, those lost years can never be replaced. They’re right in one sense. You don’t get the time you spent doing menial work back. Ever. But you don’t learn the lessons either. You don’t ever learn to do without, or to scrimp and save (that’s so last century! says Emily).

            So what do you get? Some well-educated, but under-informed consumerbots who can’t understand that the economy simply isn’t going to provide for their every desire on demand. Then we wonder why one in ten North Americans is on antidepressants. Having been sold a bill of goods about “following your dreams” and “reaching for the stars” throughout your childhood, and being sheltered from frugality and failure every step of the way, might have something to do with that. Just a thought.

            You can hardly blame kids or parents for wanting to skip the hard parts. There’s a big poster in the window of BMO on Kent Street in Ottawa that I noticed yesterday. It says, Live as a student, without living like a student.. Got that? The bank is promising you can live a comfortable lifestyle even while paying tuition and going to school and not having any income. No doubt they’ll lend you the money to do just that. As for paying them back, you’ll figure it out later.

          • You haven’t the foggiest notion of what getting a future career costs if you think ‘cut the neighbor’s grass for a few dollars’ is a viable solution.

          • Wrong! My daughter graduated with a BSC two years ago. Most of it paid for by cutting grass and painting houses.

          • Ah, you forgot to mention the painting houses part. That’s why he was confused. He took you literally. He thought you meant cutting one neighbour’s grass once. :)

          • I agree, my daughter is doing her third degree of post Ed, and we the parents did pay a single penny towards her studies, she
            Was determined, and, that’s all took

          • Cutting the grass, shoveling the snow, and other such chores can instill a healthy regard for the time effort of earning money, and makes for an ability to apply oneself for success.

          • Better hope you’re getting paid a lot more then the national minimum wage, because otherwise you’re sure not going to be coming up with the $40 000-50 000+ at any point in the near future.

          • you’re out of touch, “Dad”, sorry.

            i cut my own grass – why? bec the kid who offered to do it for me wanted $50. apparently that’s the going rate these days.

            i work from home – why? *because there are no jobs where i live*. i mean that – physically, there are no jobs. what few jobs do come up, business owners bias heavily toward high school and collage kids if they haven’t already hired their own family.

            we don’t all live in toronto.

      • I always say ” you don’t raise children with money, but you do with values”, then they work their way to money. Having been a stay at home mom, I know this for sure, and it works, my grown up children make me so proud, ” it’s priceless”

    • That sounds like a miserable existence to me; work, save, work, save. Where is the personal enrichment? Where is the ability to go beyond just working, but actually contributing to society? All of that effort for a small house, extremely expensive offspring, and denying oneself access to funds that could be used for anything from starting a business to donating to charity, to yes, even taking a vacation.

  8. Isn’t it a good thing to be prepared for the realities of having children? It’s pretty simple. Finish school, get a job, further your career, stay debt free, fall in love, keep saving your money, have kids, live within your means. And….repeat if necessary. Who said life is easy? It just requires hard work, determination and a complete lack of feeling entitled.

    • But, but, but…….that`s so last century !

      A progressive nation would encourage it`s young to stay in school until the age of 30, run up massive debts, wait for a government job opening, get pregnant in their spare time, use equalization payments from other taxpayers to pay for childcare, put your time in until your government indexed pension arrives,………….then have your subsidized kids repeat the same.

    • because it’s every woman’s dream to attend her child’s high school graduation wearing a hearing aid and using a walker.

  9. Someone who takes up driving a school bus can usually take with them in the bus up to two of their own preschool children, thus avoiding daycare costs.

    • we should all drive bus…. Seriously?

  10. For productive contributing citizens, children are a net cost.

    For welfarites, each additional baby is more cash flow to buy booze, drugs, and smokes.

    As a Society we have embraced dysgenics, encouraging breeding by those least capable of supporting themselves, much less raising children, while discouraging breeding by the best and brightest.

    • That sounds jaded but i would have to agree….. There is no help to break the cycle of poverty and the people who are having the most babies in the rural area i am from are the ones who can’t really take care of themselves.
      I found my hubby after his first marriage failed. After 2 kids he had had a vasectomy.
      She kept procreating with druggies. Her family basically made her get fixed at the threat of not helping her anymore because even they knew she was unfit.
      My husband and i would like the opportunity to have kids together. It cost us $5000 for the vasectomy reversal because it was not covered by OHIP and two years later we are still trying.
      Her druggy boyfriend goes to the methadone clinic for free every week. My 10 and 11 year old stepsons told me.
      THE SYSTEM IS BUSTED. So backwards.
      Maybe if politicians would be held accountable and if they stopped jetsetting with hookers then the little guy would catch a break.

      • What we really need are government-subsidized shooting galleries where druggies can go and safely shoot up with clean needles and pro-create without all the judgmental people out there looking down on them. :)

    • now, how about you do some REAL research – actual statistics from those in the industry – instead of drinking in the crap that Faux Nooz spouts out?


  11. In other news, having children is a terrible idea. Why is this concept one society is so reluctant to accept?

    • “Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics, and you’ll get ten different answers, but there’s one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on. Whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our Sun will grow cold and go out. When that happens, it won’t just take us. It’ll take Marilyn Monroe, and Lao-Tzu, and Einstein, and Morobuto, and Buddy Holly, and Aristophanes… all of this…all of this…was for nothing. Unless we go to the stars” — Jeffery Sinclair

    • ‘Perversely, researchers have found that the more children cost, the more parents say they enjoy their kids.”
      People aren’t having kids because it makes financial sense but rather because it fulfills emotional and social needs for those who chose to become parents. Despite the real costs, not many are willing to give their kids back.

      • People who don’t possess reverence for children or their well-being are nearly universally regarded as bad and somehow morally deficient. But no, the huge majority of parents don’t want to give up their kids because each and every single one of them definitely came to the totally independent and objective conclusion that children are a substantial benefit to their lives.

        No social pressure or cultural bias whatsoever.

        • I am a person who really likes children. However, I do have a sibling that has no children and it was a wise decision as there is no liking of kids from that person
          No one should be made to feel bad about their choice to procreate or not procreate unless they are negligent in their duties to their offspring. It is a personal decision.

        • We’re all thankful you’ve decided not to multiply. Honestly, I don’t have kids and don’t particularly like them beyond the age of 4 anyway, but I still comprehend why we need to replace ourselves. I might have some serious regrets someday.

          • Yes, I’m aware that overall the continued replication of the population is a technically a good thing. As far as individual utility goes however, children have next to none in the modern world. The general emotional satisfaction of their existence is only as great as one’s community has decided it is on your behalf.

          • People who don’t possess reverence for children or their well-being are nearly universally regarded as bad and somehow morally deficient.

            There are good reasons for this. Thankfully, we still have a rather strong aversion to self-serving, hedonistic, narcissists. Imagine a whole society full of such people. I fully support one’s right to not like kids. I don’t much care for them myself. But that would be my failing, and I don’t have trouble admitting that it is a failure on my part. I’m glad – and very lucky – most people aren’t like me.

          • One can despise children without being ‘a self-serving, hedonistic, narcissist’. Ever heard of being a decent person to those around you and helping out others? Maybe even contributing to charity or helping out around the community a little? Because I’d argue that’s a better contribution to society then creating another mouth to feed and asking that everyone shell out to help take care of it. That’s just taking responsibility for an issue that wouldn’t otherwise exist without your knowing and active participation.

            If a person wants children, that’s totally their pejorative, but people shouldn’t climb up on a moral pedestal and claim that they’re more moral then everyone else because they were able to manage to complete a biological function that the overwhelming majority of terrestrial life is capable of.

            Not liking kids just means you have a perfectly normal and healthy dislike of loud, grabby, dumb people with no impulse control and actually apply it logically.

          • I think you mean prerogative. Does your description of kids include yourself as a child? Remember we all were children at some point. Looked at individually, children make no financial sense at all, looked at collectively, well they are the next group of tax payers coming down the 18 yr pipeline.
            Or is Canada simply going to continualy import of more and more other people’s children to keep our economy running

    • why is it any of your business? why does not having kids make you morally superior to those who do?

      it’s like gay marriage: if you don’t support gay marriage, just don’t get gay married.

      if you don’t like kids, don’t have them.

      in both cases, keep your yap shut about other ppl’s choice to get gay married or have kids.

  12. Raising a family is expensive so before making one think million times :) churches puzzles

  13. Since when are gymnastics and swimming lessons considered necessities?
    I grew up with a single mother and two siblings. No, we didn’t have every new toy to come out, no, we never went to Disneyland (Canada’s Wonderland and the annual local fair were close enough for us), but we ALWAYS had what was really important: food in the fridge, clothes on our backs (even if some were thrift store clothes), and a roof over our heads. Yes, money was tight, but my Mom, even while working full time, always had time for us. She took days off when we were sick, she spent her lunch hours driving my brother back and forth from daycare to kindergarten for a year (one thing McGuinty did right was putting in full day kindergarten to get rid of that nonsense), she was there for us every waking moment she wasn’t at work. She made it work, and proved by example that women *can* have a full time, rewarding career AND be a great mother. Her secret? Never letting anyone tell her otherwise.
    Now, my fiancé and I are a pair of those twentysomethings that, until recently, had to live at home with our parents for financial reasons. We’re now renting our own apartment, but we’re certainly not waiting until we can afford a mortage to have our first kid. First of all, I can’t wait that long — I don’t want to be having my first kid at 40. Secondly, all we really need a two bedroom apartment, and for I to find a full time job (2 years out of full time university and I still have my student retail part time job, and am grateful to have that!) Once that happens, I expect to try for our first kid even before we’re married, if that’s possible. As long as we can provide the basics, as long as I can be the kind of mother for my future child or maybe children that my Mom was to me, we’ll be okay. Money doesn’t buy a good childhood, or proper parenting.

    • As a prospective parent, might I suggest that you should consider set higher standards for your ability as a parent then ‘provides basic survival requirements’? And yes, yes it does. Every statistic in the books indicates that money totally buys those things. Seriously, get as much of it as you can, because security and peace of mind are not free.

  14. Entitled Canadians – always complaining.

    Kids are great – I have two in their teens – they work and save – and have enough for college.

    It is how you raise them that matters – there will always be costs but you need to instill a work ethic in them.

    If they want the extras make them earn it – but most just give it to them.

    Mine are doing well – in school, in sports, socially and both have part time jobs that they save a minimum of 50% of each take home pay.

    Entitled Canadians of today – always complaining about how hard it is instead of actually doing something about it.

    Most entitled Canadians just need a kick in the butt and then closely examine how their families did it in the past – if they could manage then so can we. All it takes is a bit of effort – something most are not prepared to do. Throw your rocks folks – but the truth is in the end result – and I sure see a lot of crying

    Your job is to raise them, nurture them, love them, teach them and get them ready to step out into life.

    Give them your blessing and kick them out the door into the brave new world.

    So stop the complaining and get on with it – your own parents for the most part managed – so can you.

  15. i have NO idea where you got your information.

    as a self-employed naturopath, the only reason she wasn’t eligible for maternity leave was because she didn’t do her homework: it’s been a while now that self-employed business owners could sign on to EI.

    as for $2000 a month in child care??!? well, maybe if they forewent the silk sheets and gold potties and personal attendants they would find it well under half that.

    if these numbers are even anywhere near reality, how to explain single parents raising a child on less than a thousand dollars a month on welfare? sure, medical, dental, and day care (IF you’re eligible for it which not all jurisdictions allow unless you’re working or in school) are covered but it still comes nowhere anything NEAR $72k/yr.

    i’d also like to know why they have to put aside $200/mo to save $40k for a child’s education: i put $30 a month into an RESP with TD Canada Trust and when she’s 18, it’ll be worth approximately $30k. that doesn’t include another RESP her father as for her – that one gets chip-ins from the govt so it’ll be worth even more.

    we also pay for our daughter’s ballet and hockey skating – unlike normal children, these are necessities as she has asperger’s and needs high levels of intense physical activity if i’m to keep her from climbing the walls (i mean that literally: she scales the walls in the halls and doorways by planting her feet and hands and walking up them). she doesn’t need fancy-dancy hockey lessons and clubs: i bought her an $80 pair of good-quality skates (on sale with a further reduction kicked in) and that was it. this year, she needs another pair – hardly an onerous burden. ballet, okay – it’s more expensive but the actual necessities are not; if i choose to spend $50-$60 far too often because i can’t resist yet another cute little ballet outfit, that’s MY issue, not a child-raising issue. the only thing she needs is a $20 pair of ballet slippers and her gym clothes from school, in addition to the lessons which are about $30/mo.

  16. I don’t understand where these dollar amounts come from because if they were actually real, then how do we explain families in which the total income is less than 50,000$ a year and yet they manage to raise one, two or even three children? Obviously, the more money a family has, the more they will spend on their children. That is why some children have expensive clothes and lessons and laptops and some do not. But those things are not necessities. I have six children that I have raised on my one salary. My salary right now is 78 000$ per year. That is the most money I have ever earned. When my first child was born, I was a university student and my total income that year was 8 000$. Now that experience is not really relevant anymore because it was 27 years ago but it does highlight a great discrepancy between what we are told is possible and what really is possible. The year I had my last child (10 years ago) my salary was just over 50 000$ and we lived quite happily. Even now, with 5 children at home still (aged 18 and under), we manage reasonably well. I have a mortgage, I own a car, we go on smallish vacations. My children do not have cell phones or their own computers. I buy their basic clothes and anything above that, they buy with their own money. I will not be able to pay for all of their university expenses and I don’t feel bad about it either. If they want to go, I will help all I can and they will work. I paid my own way through university and did a BA, MA and PhD. I never once thought my parents (who never earned more than 25 000$ a year and raised 3 children) should pay for me. I paid all my fees, my rent etc through my job. BUT and here’s a big but, I did not have to pay for child care because I had family help and my friends and I arranged a child care exchange. And I think that is a very important BUT.

    • Good for you. You taught so much to these children, (Monet excluded) you ought to be proud of yourself. Like me, the pride these children bring you is “priceless”

  17. What an incredible crock of crap.
    My boys are now 10 and 12. Family income is about $80000/year and we want for nothing.
    We own a modest home and one vehicle…my kids are both enrolled in music lessons and archery lessons and have most of the electronic do-dads.
    According to this IDOIOTIC article we should be knee deep in debt.
    At the moment our entire debt load (not counting mortgage is under $5000.

    • Actually, you missed the point of this article. The point wasn’t necessarily that you would end up in “knee deep in debt,” but that you take a significant financial hit when you have children. You could be $1,000,000 further ahead than you are had you not had two children through a combination of increased income potential, investment income (gains), etc.

      Don’t get me wrong, I have two kids myself. But I can tell you the decision to have a child (let alone two) was not made based on a cost benefit analysis. We’d have much more in our savings (RRSP and TFSA, among others), and our house would likely be paid off by now had we not had children. So yes, there is definitely a significant financial cost to having children. Financial burden doesn’t require that one end up in debt.

  18. I find this article to be offensive. It is not multicultural enough! Why the white baby on the front? Why not a minority baby?

    Also, I’m troubled over the lack of diversity on a recent cover of Time Magazine. They were promoting “The Child Free Life” and the cover showed a white couple. Why isn’t “The Child Free Life” and the high price of having children being promoted to minorities as well? Why no diversity?

  19. For all of those who say that the daycare costs cited in the above article are outlandish, I would happily show you our annual daycare receipts. This year alone, for our two boys, it will be over $30K. Yes, that’s just under $3,000/mo in daycare ALONE.
    My husband and I make “too much” to qualify for a fee subsidy. We live in Toronto where infant fees can range from $70-90/day, and preschool from $35-45. We currently pay about $75/day for our infant son (this continues to age 18 months), and $40/day for our preschooler. Once our children are in full time school, before and after care will cost approximately $450/mo each, so we’re then going to feel some relief at $900/mo. (That will be in 3 years’ time. We’ve been paying daycare fees for 2.5 years already).
    Unlicensed care is no cheaper in this area – and in fact, in some cases, it’s more expensive. Although my eldest’s before and after care (once he’s in JK) will only cost $450/mo, we have a friend who is paying $600/mo for before and after care in an unlicensed home daycare. Because the demand is so high, there are no spots in licensed centers, and she has no choice but to use an unlicensed daycare if she wants to keep working.
    We own one car (completely paid off), and have a modest mortgage ($200K), and we definitely feel the squeeze. And is it any wonder? The monthly daycare costs we face, with a mere two children, are more than our mortgage payment, utilities, and property tax combined. We don’t ever eat out (food allergies combined with being frugal), and use clothes that our relatives buy for our children (gifts for birthdays, etc) or hand-me-downs from others. We don’t own a “bugaboo” stroller, or any other uber expensive items (except, perhaps, car seats at $250 per child).
    Certainly, part of the reason we feel the squeeze is that we want to pay down our mortgage in a reasonable time frame, we don’t want to accumulate debt, and we want to be able to save for retirement. I guess those are “crazy” goals that we have, given we have kids.

  20. The cost of raising children depends on the parents. NO one can say with any kind of accuracy what a child costs to raise. A parent that lives the high life will drive the cost of parenting higher then a parent who is thrifty. A parent with high paying job can afford to pay for higher end items/housing daycare and everything else without care. A parent with a lower income can manage a good healthy life as well. Its all in the parenting style. This idiot report is so far from realistic it makes me shake my head that people will believe it at face value and as a result change taxes/child support/minimum wage/daycare and anything else that causes people to put their hands out wanting more because of some stuffed shirt sitting in an office watching other people raise children. Don’t believe everything you read. As far as you know, Bart Simpson is sitting on the other side holding the pen.

  21. If the family is supposed to be the bedrock of our society then Canada has lost it. Canada has become the country it promised itself it would never be and Canadians have become the people we promised we would never become: where the winner takes all and the losers must fend for themselves when they cant even speak for themselves. Jobs in China do not pay the rent and utilities and corporate executives making 300 times the salaries of their workers and then throwing them out on the street do not contribute to pension plans, education, health care etc. Liberal? Conservative? its all more of the same: protect the billionaires and punish the worker. No wonder Canadians are having less or no chilren at all.

  22. It’s pretty sad when there is no where mentionned the love and joy of bringing up children. As a stay at home mom of 3, sure we had to “sacrifice” new clothes, trips, “date nights” (ridiculous at best) but not once did we ever have second thoughts or regrets. Yes there were hard times,I cleaned homes and my husband worked 2 jobs but it was something we needed to do and did it without making anyone feel guilty. We are proud parents of 3 hard working , conscientious sons who all have full time jobs ( I might add without university degrees). The only “regret”..TIME PASSED TOO DAMN FAST!!”


  23. Not to mention the cost of basic needs like Diapers. 1 in 5 Canadian moms have experienced diaper need (the situation whereby parents are having to decide between diapers and other necessary items like food). Diapers can run a family approx $75 a month. The Diaper Bank http://www.thediaperbank,ca collects loose, open, new packages of diapers AND accepts financial donations to provide diapers to those in need within the GTA. But everyone can help – consider diapers when donating to your local food bank or host a diaper drive in your community. When you only have for example $700 a month – rent, food, TTC pass pretty much eat up all the money – diaper need is real – can you imagine keeping your baby in a diaper for a prolonged period of time?

  24. We earn our money for our kids… Otherwise, what is the point for living? This is nature and we are part of it, even though we drive cars and fly spaceships to the moon. We still have the same genes as our ancestors thousands of years ago. These genes are >95% similar to apes!!!

  25. Correction, Our DNA (not genes) are over 95% and some says of over 98% similarity to chimp.

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