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Childcare harder to find in suburban Calgary: report

GETTY IMAGES/Richard Lautens

Trying to find childcare in Calgary can be a challenge and a new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives shows where in the city it’s the hardest.

Calgary has a coverage rate of just 37 per cent, which is slightly lower than Toronto and roughly half of what parents in large Quebec cities experience.

More than half of the children under the age of five in Calgary live in a community where there are more than three children competing for one space.

Coverage rates are high downtown, then fall substantially when reaching the suburbs. It’s high in the city’s southeast and in postal codes along the Bow River, but much lower in the northern and southwest sections.

The higher coverage starts in the north near the University of Calgary and follows the Bow through the city centre, veers south following the Elbow River through Mission and Elbow Park, then back over to the Highfield and Lynwood areas.

Neighbourhoods in the southwest, including Lakeview, Braeside, Willow Park and Lake Bonavista, have somewhat lower coverage rates of around 50 per cent.

But areas like Cranston and Mackenzie Lake in the southeast have coverage rates of at or below 20 per cent despite large numbers of young children living there.

It’s a similar situation for much of the northern part of the city, where coverage rates of 20 per cent stretch from Tuscany through Saddle Ridge.

At 36 per cent, Alberta as a whole has slightly lower child care coverage than British Columbia.

Rural Alberta fares even worse with a coverage rate of 24 per cent, a little more than half the coverage parents would find in Calgary and Edmonton.