Mother and childFor some low-income families, sending kids back to school can break the bank.

Right now, school hallways are probably the cleanest they’ll be all year, but soon the floors will soon be scuffed by the soles of new running shoes and littered with discarded lunches.

Between new books, knapsacks and after-school care, heading back to school is expensive. For single women who are raising children, the cost of a new school year can hit especially hard. About 1 in 5 single mothers in Canada are living on a low income. In 2011, the median annual income for single mothers with children under 6 was $21,200. With little money left after paying for food and rent, many moms are forced to turn down their children’s request for dance lessons and the tech gadgets their friends have.

So as kids get ready to swap their summertime popsicles for sharpened pencils, just how much will it cost to send them back to school? The short answer is, a lot. But for low-income families and single moms, it can be so expensive they’ll have to tell their kids “no,” more often than they’d like.

And the costs continue to add up throughout the school year. This graphic shows the typical items on the list:

Mom why can't I infographic

Learn More

Take Action