U of T Family Care Office Best Among Canadian Universities
Genevieve Bonomi, a summer research intern at the de Veber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research, put together a Report on Resources for Pregnant Women, Single Mothers and Parenting Students at university campuses in Canada.
The deVeber Institute of Bioethics and Social Research compiled a survey that consisted of six categories: education, housing, child care, health care, child-friendly campus and financial aid. This survey was completed for each of the 86 registered Canadian universities and each university was asked the same questions. This is what we found.
[Full disclosure: I’ve been doing some website work for the deVeber Institute, but I’m not involved with any of the research they’re doing.]
As The Catholic Register reports, the University of Toronto was found to be the most child-friendly campus:
“The University of Toronto was the best in the country because they basically had every resource we questioned about and they also went above and beyond,” said Genevieve Bonomi, a student at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont., who spent her summer calling every university to enquire about services[…]
Bonomi wanted to find out whether or not campuses offered any of the following: flexible class times or long-distance education, child care centres or child care referral services, housing or financial aid specifically for parenting students, health care centres on campus for pregnancy testing or counselling. She and other interns also looked at the overall child friendliness of the campuses — whether or not there were baby change tables and if buildings were accessible for strollers.
The University of Toronto met all of these criteria, Bonomi said, and she was surprised to discover it has an adoption agency associated with the university for faculty, staff and students, offered women places on campus to breastfeed, provided on-campus housing for parenting students with a priority for single parents, offered discounts for the several child care centres and subsidies as well as food and clothing banks for parenting students.
“It was just phenomenal the amount of encouragement that they’re providing for people to achieve an education and also have a family,” she said.
The U of T was the only university that offered information centrally, through the Family Centre and its web site.
“The point of the survey was to show that universities need a central point to help people find these resources on campus,” Bonomi said, adding it soon became clear that at many of the universities these resources didn’t event exist or staff didn’t know which department to direct her to.
Praise for U of T from Bonomi actually came back in July, but it’s being repeated now as the full report is released.
If you haven’t already, check out the Family Care Office website!