Report says child care fee policy doesn’t reach enough parents
A new report says that the cost of child care in Calgary is way too high and there isn’t enough being done to reduce the amount of money that parents need to pay every month.
According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Calgary parents need to pay $1,100 a month on average for day care space, the third highest amount among Canada’s major cities.
Only Toronto, at $1,685 per month, and Vancouver, at $1,400 per month, have higher costs for child care.
The report also found that those rates are still on the rise, with Calgary’s day care costs growing by one percent in 2018. Rates have increased by 9.8 percent since 2014.
Veronica Aliko says her husband works and she stays at home with her children.
“We have just one [in preschool], but it’s tough. We received some help from the government, but it’s not enough. We want to have more kids [enrolled] but I don’t think we can afford to have two kids in a private daycare.”
Chris Choi and his wife both work, so need to have their kids in full-time care.
"For our two kids it costs us about $1,000 a month even if it’s two days. If you go to five days, it’s very high. It’s very tight with this economy.”
The $25 per day fee set out by the provincial government in 2017 is doing some good to drive down the fees, but the CCPA says that participation among centres for the policy is still fairly low. They add that as a result, parents are still paying far more than market value for spaces.
Premier Rachel Notley says her government has been moving forward on the fundamentally important issue of affordable child care for some time.
“People shouldn’t have to choose between child care and a mortgage when they choose to have a family and that’s where things are kind of at in some places across the country as well as here in Alberta.”
Calgary was also found to have the highest proportion of child care centres charging fees for parents to have their children placed on a waiting list, a practice that was banned in Ontario in September 2017.
The CCPA says it would be recommended for all provinces to follow Ontario’s example.
Notley says parents shouldn’t be paying wait list fees and her government expects to look into the policy in the future.
“My first thought is that those child care centres that benefit from parents that are receiving the subsidies or government support in any of the programs that we currently run, it would seem to me that they would become ineligible for those programs.”
Aliko says she wants to see the government do more to help parents cover their costs.
“I’m hoping the government does something else. He is four years old. He cannot go to public school yet so I wish they can increase the help we get from the government.”
You can review the CCPA’s report on child care fees in Canada here.
(With files from Jordan Kanygin)