To keep farm families on the farm and maintain their substantial contributions to the economy, farmers require access to a variety of services and infrastructure, which support their operations and families, including access to child care services. The realities of farm life can make accessing appropriate child care difficult, given the non-traditional hours of farming.
Accessible, affordable, quality childcare remains a critical need in rural areas across Ontario.
Child care needs are increasing among farm families, as both parents are required to devote more of their energy to full-time work on the farm or working off the farm to supplement family income. What is lacking in many areas are child care services that address the unique character of rural areas, including:
- seasonal fluctuations in the demand for child care
- a scattered population with relatively few users for any one type of service
- little public transportation and long travelling distances
- the need for child care at the home of the child in cases where both parents work full or part-time on farm operations
OFA believes no one model of childcare exists that will fit every rural community. Instead, what is required is a flexible program offering a range of services that meet the fluctuating needs of rural farm families. These services could include: drop-in centres, kid camps, on-farm daycare, licensed centres, programs for school-aged children, and support for informal caregivers.
OFA supports developing flexible, accessible and affordable childcare services to meet the specific circumstances of rural and farm families.
OFA supports changes to federal child care expense deduction rules for farmers to allow the spouse with the higher net income to use the total or unused portion of the child care expense claim to his or her advantage when filing income tax.