KAMLOOPS — Childcare costs are rising and some parents simply cannot keep up, and Kamloops is not immune.
According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, three Lower Mainland cities, including Vancouver at No. 2, are among the most expensive for childcare across the country. Childcare costs in Vancouver average $1,292 every month. In Kamloops, the monthly fees for daycare are $800 on average.
But even with a cheaper pricetag than the Coast, it's still a struggle for many families.
"The living wage for Kamloops is stated to be around $17, and a lot of parents that are working, especially single moms, are not making anywhere near that," said Patti Pernitsky, senior educator at the Kamloops United Church Preschool.
Pernitsky runs preschool and after-school programs, and is in the process of getting funding for a full 3-5 year old daycare. She said the $10 a day childcare promise by the NDP needs to happen quickly.
"It's needed," she said. "When the NDP was in before, we had $12 a day out-of-school care, and it was marvelous. But as soon as the government changed, it got axed. The $10 a day daycare would save a lot of families a lot of grief."
According to the Childcare Resource and Referral Centre, run out of the John Tod Centre, there are 175 daycares in Kamloops and parents are paying an average of $40 a day and up.
"If you want to hire an Early Childhood Educator, you want to be able to pay them a decent living wage," said Janis Arner from the Childcare Resource and Referral Centre. "So those fees, I believe, are really reflective of the costs that go into providing childcare."
Arner says there are still waitlists and parents have a difficult time finding part-time daycares.
Selena Brooks, who has an 18-month-old son Joseph, is admittedly nervous about eventually returning to work.
"The cost of daycare is extremely expensive. I would basically have to work just to cover the cost of daycare," she said. "So it's not worth putting him in daycare. I'd rather just stay home and take care of him myself."
Brooks would typically be back to work already with Joseph a year and a half old. But given the costs, she doesn't want to put him in daycare this early.
"I might consider putting him in daycare when he's older because the costs go down when they are toilet-trained," noted Brooks.
The $10 a day promise would be a relief to Brooks. She also has a 9-year-old daughter and has seen the costs rise over the years.
"I had her in daycare when she was two and the cost of daycare has gone up dramatically to the point where it's not worth families to put their children in daycare."
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