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The State of Child Day-Care
Child Care is an intrinsic aspect to most people's lives. For anybody who has a child who also tends to need time away from the child to attend to their duties, they know how important it is to find reliable and trustworthy care for their child.
In our community we have received stories of children shuffling different days at different care providers due to limited openings. We have heard of a business delaying soft opening because of staff who have no child care options. We have heard of great-grandparents and extended grand-uncles stepping up to the plate to care for children so that parents can work. Daycare Facilities have been a popular school of thought over the past half century and have become more popular (almost ubiquitous) since the 1980’s. Day care has been a trusted community resource but what are the limitations and realities facing our community and daycare providers today? We caught up with a 27 year licensed day care provider and learned that daycare providers are facing innumerable obstacles and challenges. From licensing bureaucracy to ECE education limits to building & space requirements, plus health inspection systems and lack of locally aware inspectors, the state of child care is -quite ironically- not a “fun” realm to operate in. Most ECE’s need to run their own business in order to make any money while working, on average, 11 hour days. With the introduction of the 10$ a day “day care” objective across Canada, the providers will next become dependent upon an indefinite monthly process of maintaining government subsidy funding. They will need to participate in this system in order to continue operating. “Currently I would not advise, nor suggest that it is feasible for someone to start-up as a stand alone day care in our community, despite the obvious shortages and need. I can tell you, as an operator, the stress today is not worth it”. Ten dollar a day day-care also begs the question of fairness. Licensed providers go through an incredible number of hoops to maintain licensing. They can access the “Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative” and parents can access the subsidy on the other end (provided they are equipped with the skills and awareness necessary to access the government system. An unlicensed provider can qualify for the “Child Care Fee Reduction Incentive''. These providers may care for 2 children or one sibling group who is not related to them. Meanwhile, a mother/father, grandmother/grandfather or aunt/uncle who chooses to care for a child is eligible for absolutely nothing. The application, reporting and qualification happens on BOTH ends, for the parents and the day care providers. One must wonder how many people are going to be required to leave the regular work force and move into government jobs just to administer these application, reporting and qualification processes. And then who will care for THEIR children?
What we have heard from both parents and providers is that “day care” is becoming an overly complex, difficult and absurd game of licensing and subsidy.
Nothing is “free” and the actual costs of the implementation of $10/day day-care across Canada have yet to hit the register… but we will likely start to realize the costs when we lose a day care facility to provider burn out.