The Office of Pre-Primary Education

Representing the sector and service providers
Service management and teacher support (ChildForum)
Research publisher (NZ-International RECE Journal)
Parent and whānau information service (My ECE)
Find out more - go to About Us

childforum logo

Follow us on FacebookFollow us on Twitteryoutube

News - World Headlines

How Many Kids Waiting for Affordable Childcare in Hamilton is Too Many?

Demand outstrips supply and a waiting list prioritises children in low-income households with special needs or those in 'high risk' situations. 

Hamilton, Canada, Sept 2012 - It's a very long wait for some children in Hamilton to find a spot in the city's subsidized childcare system. Right now, there are 1,623 kids in that line.

In 2012, the province allocated $C36.9 million to overall childcare costs in Hamilton, an increase of 89 per cent since 2003, according to the Ministry of Education.

The city's annual childcare subsidy budget represents approximately $C22 million, says Jane Soldera, Director of Community Services Department Social Development & Early Childhood Services Division in Hamilton. At the moment, 3,779 children are receiving childcare fee subsidies, she reports.

Yet when it comes to offering subsidized childcare support to families in need, demand outstrips supply. In 2007-8, that demand went up by 18 per cent.

“By year end 2011,” says Soldera, it had increased by “54 percent over the same time in 2010.”

Since 2008, Hamilton has been dealing with that increased burden through the creation of a wait list. At the top of the list are kids in low-income households with special needs or those deemed in 'high-risk' situations (these kids are given access to the subsidy immediately).

Next on the list: kids from households that have a family income below Statistics Canada Low Income Cut-off (LICO) (In 2011, the before tax LICO was $C27,674 for a single person with a child). In priority three is the overflow from priority two.

Soldera admits it's “difficult to predict with accuracy how long someone will wait.” Kids in priority two have been waiting for a place in subsidized childcare since February 2012, she says, while families in priority three have been waiting since January 2010.

 “Hamilton's economy is suffering because of the large waitlist for childcare subsidies,” says Sara Mayo, social planner at the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton. Mayo suggests that the “increase in the childcare subsidy waiting list since March mirrors a small but steady decrease in the number of social assistance recipients in Hamilton.”

“If more childcare subsidies were available, the social assistance caseload could be decreasing at an even faster rate,” she adds.

For more, visit


Don’t miss out any longer, click the button below to join ChildForum


  • Preschool Leader

    Having heard a colleague talk about how useful she had found their material I joined. ChildForum's replies to my queries are prompt, extremely informative & with a genuine personal touch. I am impressed by the commitment to research & courage in tackling the hard issues like the risks of poor quality care for under 2s
    Val Morrison (Small is Beautiful)
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

Join Us!



Subscribe now for information you can trust, expert advice and research, as well as access to quality resources. 

We are confident you will be delighted to discover and experience the benefits of membership - so join now and make this message for non-members disappear from your screen. 

Membership Options


Who is this for?
Teachers, Eductors, Lecturers, Policy Advisors - any indivdual with an interest in ECE

$98.00 12 months from the date of joining
$60.00 6 months student-only

Choose your own personal username and password
(Note that this membership does not give access to specialist ECE Service members-only info and support) 

ECE Service Organisation

Who is this for?
Centres, home-based, hospital-based, playgroups ... established or newly licensed.

$198.00 12 months per standalone licensed service
Special rates for organisations with more than 1 licensed service

This membership gives access to professional & research materials enjoyed by individual members PLUS ECE service management area info and support. 

Library NZ-International Research
in ECE Journal Subscriber

Who is this for?
Universities, Polytechnics and organisations wishing to have online access to the NZ-Int Research in ECE journal (includes all past and current issues) 

$125.00 annual subscription, renewable in November each year

A username and password for your library users linked to your IP address.