Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Study Says No Firm Estimate on Costs to Raise a Family a Problem for Government

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Study Says No Firm Estimate on Costs to Raise a Family a Problem for Government

Article excerpt

Feds don't know cost of children: study

--

OTTAWA - Jessica Wesley has been a mom for all of two months, but she and her husband are already thinking that one child might be all their finances can handle.

As her Toronto family confronts looming expenses like child care, rent and clothing, Wesley says she doesn't know what the final tally will be -- only that it will be high.

Justin Trudeau's federal government is in a similar boat.

Ottawa doesn't have a bead on just how much it costs to raise a child in Canada, says a new study, prompting some experts to wonder if politics and ideology are trumping evidence when it comes to making decisions on social policy.

The paper, sponsored by the anti-poverty group Campaign 2000, says governments need a better way of measuring cost to ensure family benefits and anti-poverty initiatives are of help to those who need it the most.

"It makes us hesitant," Wesley, 31, says of the costs involved with raising her son, Ken.

"One of the factors that makes us think he'll probably be our only little guy is the cost involved."

Wesley has friends with newborn babies -- and similar concerns.

The cost of raising a child ranges from about $5,000 a year to more than $12,000, depending on which estimate one looks at and whether those estimates incorporate variables like child care, transportation, food and housing. Thanks to a lack of data and no clear consensus on how best to measure the cost, disputes about accuracy abound.

Such lack of certaintly leaves a lot of leeway for political and ideological preferences to take over and drive policy changes, said Sid Frankel, an associate professor of social work at the University of Manitoba, and co-author of the study.

"Government and others speak a lot about evidence-based policy and here's an essential area of evidence that has essentially been ignored. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.