Kelowna parents are absorbing a significant cost for childcare services when compared to other cities across Canada. (Contributed)

Kelowna at forefront of child care cost crisis

New study advocates higher daycare cost subsidies; more funding focus on non-profit child care services

Kelowna is a focal point for a new report advocating for the NDP provincial government to direct more child care funding to non-profit daycares.

The report comes with significant childcare funding announcements expected this spring at both the federal and provincial government levels.

Advocate Iglika Ivanova says the province has an opportunity to do a reset with funding as reliance on the private sector in B.C. is only passing a greater cost burden onto parents.

In the study, titled Sounding The Alarm: COVID-19’s impact on Canada’s precarious childcare sector released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Ivanova helped survey 37 cities across the country and found some of the highest fee increases for three to five year olds were in B.C. from 2019 to 2020.

The five cities surveyed in B.C. were Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, Richmond and Kelowna.

READ MORE: Seeking to expand Kelowna, West Kelowna child care resources

READ MORE: 35 after-school child care space coming to West Kelowna

Kelowna registered a seven per cent increase for five to seven year olds, trailing only Surrey and Richmond; while fees for 18 months to three year olds saw Kelowna post the highest at 12 per cent, ahead of Richmond at eight per cent and Vancouver and Surrey next at five per cent.

The bottom line is B.C. parents are paying up to $9,000 more per child than are parents in more heavily subsidized provinces, such as Quebec.

Ivanova argues the survey, which has been carried out for the past seven years, reveals how relying on a for-profit model for daycare shortfalls is not an efficient use of public funds.

She said child care in B.C. should function in the same subsidized fashion as the school system, a benefit on a social and job creation economic basis she says many other countries have already realized.

She stated increased cost in child care subsidy funding is off-set by parents finding it easier to return to the workforce thus generating more income tax revenue and spending their income in their communities, helping single and working poor parents get out of poverty, and get single mothers off the welfare rolls with greater financial incentive to find a job.

“The public investment of child care going forward is going to be crucial in our recovery of COVID-19,” said Ivanova.

According to Ivanovic, funding made available to daycare services should come with stipulations that don’t exist now, such as maximum rate charges.

She said other provinces – Quebec and Newfoundland for example – already have mandated maximum daycare fee charges in place.

Ivanova envisions a $10 a day fee, amounting to $200 a month, with the remaining cost subsidized by the government.

“The differences in how much parents pay for child care fees across Canada is staggering. Provinces, where child care is left largely to market forces, have considerably higher fees than those who have taken measures to promote affordability.

“B.C. is in the middle with the government providing more funding than provinces like Ontario, but B.C. maintains a reliance on the (private sector) market.”

When the new NDP government initially made more grant funding available, the grants were wide open to for-profit and non-profit daycares, but the primary applicants were from the private sector.

“So you end up spending public dollars for private businesses to grow, and parents have to pay fees in order to allow these businesses to survive, ” she said.

“There is going to be a lot of money on the table for child care funding over the next few years and there is an opportunity to get it right this time.

“We rank very low as a country in how we fund child care services so the time has come to do something about that.”

She added wages for early childhood educators, now averaging about $18 an hour, also need to increase to allow daycare operators to retain staff.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Childcare

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Transit will offer free bus service in the South Okanagan and Similkameen on Earth Day, April 22. (Black Press file photo)
BC Transit to offer free Earth Day bus service in South Okanagan and Similkameen

Conventional routes, On-Request and handyDART services all included in day of free service

A suspected water leak has closed Government Street between Nelson Avenue and Penticton Avenue.
Water main leak closes portion of Government Street

City crews are trying to find the suspected water leak this morning

road closed
Mudslide closes Penticton road

Eastside Road is closed in both directions, take Highway 97 instead

Photo: pixabay.com
Morning Start: What does space smell like?

Your morning start for Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Pasta Factory on Martin Street was helped by the city to create patio space. (Facebook)
Penticton’s patio push is on, with Pasta Factory joining the party

City of Penticton is getting creative to help local restaurants

A lone traveler enters the Calgary Airport in Calgary, Alta., Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
VIDEO: Trudeau defends Canada’s travel restrictions as effective but open to doing more

Trudeau said quarantine hotels for international air travellers will continue until at least May 21

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson leaves the assembly with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Paid sick leave for ‘hard-hit’ workers left out of provincial budget, BCGEU says

‘For recovery to be equitable it requires supports for workers, not just business,’ says service employee union president Laird Cronk

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

Shuswap businesses dependent on  tourism are bracing for further details of travel restrictions expected to be announced by Friday, April 23. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
B.C. travel restrictions create uncertainty among North Okanagan-Shuswap businesses

Sicamous mayor to ramp up campaign against licence plate hate

The site of a proposed water bottling facility referred to in a groundwater licence application is in the vicinity of this intersection. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Concerns raised over water licence application in Salmon Arm for bottling water

Neighbours want to know more, city councillor concerned about commercial use of public aquifers

Sheldon Pierre Louis’s winning mural design, “kʷu mr̓imstn, we are medicine.” (Facebook: Okanagan Nation Alliance)
Syilx artist selected as winner of Kelowna Gospel Mission’s mural project

Sheldon Pierre Louis was also awarded $10,000 for his winning submission, “kʷu mr̓imstn, we are medicine.”

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of B.C. varsity women’s team

Suspension of Barney Williams would be reversed if he complies with certain terms

Most Read