A report suggesting it's cheap to raise kids in Canada has got some parents fuming.
The starting point for raising a child in Canada today is between $3,000 and $4,500 a year, according to a report released Thursday by the Fraser Institute, a right-wing think-tank.
"I don't know what they're thinking. It's like the decimal in the wrong place," said Michael Wedmann of Clarkson, Ont., who works in sales and has a five-year-old son. "I don't think it's even in the ballpark."
The report's findings, calculated by economist Christopher Sarlo, factor in basic costs like food, clothing, recreation and education.
Jenn Irwin, a Goderich, Ont., mother of four, thinks the estimate is just about right.
"You can certainly spend much more in extras, but on the basics, sure," said Irwin, who works from home doing bookkeeping for her husband's business. "I'm not against buying used clothes. We get hand-me-downs. I buy a lot of stuff on sale."
But it's what's not considered in the report that's raising a lot of eyebrows: daycare, for example, which the report says many parents don't need.
"Most homes are two-income homes. If both people are working, where are the kids going before and after school? I don't know anybody who works 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.," said Wedmann, who paid some $1,800 to $2,000 a month on daycare alone when his son was an infant.
The report also leaves out housing, the costs associated with time off work, or any discretionary spending, like say, for toys.
Other estimates peg child costs at $10,000 annually, which the think-tank says is just a scare tactic to keep low-income people from starting families.
"While parents certainly could spend $10,000 and more on their children, these estimates simply do not reflect what parents, especially lower-income parents, need to spend towards the healthy development of their child," Sarlo said in a press release. "These cost estimates have a distinct middle-class bias and send a clear message to low-income families that they really cannot afford children."
Still, Calgary mom Kate Andrews, a lawyer with a two-year-old son, remains skeptical.
"Telling people that they should have kids because it's possible to raise them on next to nothing, so long as nothing goes wrong, is tantamount to encouraging someone to take on a financial burden that uses up every last one of their resources," she said.
The Fraser Institute says the report proves government doesn't need to dole out more money to parents than it already does.
QMI Agency tried to reach Sarlo for comment.