Daycare costs straining family budgets

By Tanya Cronin
December 17, 2015 - 4:04pm Updated: December 17, 2015 - 5:25pm

KAMLOOPS — Kandice Roe knows all too well, the financial strain daycare can have on a parent. 

"It's hard, especially as a single parent, so that's the hardest part for sure is trying to make it work, trying to find space is sometimes hard as well." 

For several years, Kandice's 5-year old son has been in daycare, allowing her to attend school to become an Early Childhood Educator herself. But paying between $800 and $900 a month for full-time care, hasn't always been easy.

"Sometimes he's in daycare for 8 to 9 hours a day, it's hard on the child too for sure."    

Child-care costs have been dictating the decisions of many parents in this country for years. According to a study released this month by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, fees are soaking up an enormous amount of a family's budget. For some, it's the second highest cost, next to housing.

"I think most centres start at $1000 a month for infant/toddler care. If you're a single parent and you don't maybe qualify for subsidy, that's a pretty big bite out of your income," says Patti Pernitsky, Kamloops United Church Preschool and Out of School Care.

The highest fees were in Toronto, at more than $1700 a month, and parents pay the lowest in Quebec, where government policies have capped fees at $174 a month. Patti Pernitsky runs the Kamloops United Church Preschool, she's been in child care for the past 40-years and sees what parents are faced with every day.

"it's gotten more frustrating over the last 10-years because of the financial part and parents struggling. I try really hard to help facilitate those families getting a spot because usually out of school means the parents are working or going to school and they can't afford to not do that," says Pernitsky.

Charging $330 a month, Pernitsky's daycare is non-profit. She tries to keep fees as low as possible to help all levels of families, but says it's time for government to step in. As a member of the Early Childhood Educators of BC, Pernitsky is hoping the Province will adopt a $10 a day plan, that's being developed.

"Whether it's infant/toddler or out of school or preschool, it would be a flat rate parents would pay, and the government would pick up the balance of that," says Pernitsky.

Kandice Roe welcomes a more affordable child-care system. But until that happens, she like other parents, will continue to feel the pinch. 

"He's in kindergarten but will going to after school care, and that's about $300 a month," says Roe.

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