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Letter: Fee-reduction initiative brings little comfort to daycare

“Why are small businesses like my daycare expected to apply for an onerous program that provides them no added benefit?” reader asks.
Daycare-Lourdes Balduque-Moment-Getty
It is hard to find any real benefit to the B.C. government's child-care fee reduction initiative, a reader says.

Editor:

As a mom of two small children, I'm feeling incredibly frustrated about the lack of any concrete information in B.C. about the childcare fee reduction initiative.

As a member of the middle class, my family is being squeezed by inflation, a steep mortgage (for a small 2-bedroom apartment), and extremely high daycare fees. We are struggling to make ends meet and our government doesn’t seem to care at all. We were lucky enough to find excellent home-based care at a licensed daycare in New West, but we have been informed that due to the nature of her home-based program, she is unable to apply for the $10/day daycare funding and will not be considering it until more concrete information is available to her. The funding requirements are too onerous and she gets no benefit from it – she is within 10 years of retirement and she won’t make any additional money by accessing the funding. I have friends and family across Canada who are in home-based daycares and are already seeing massive fee reductions, but the BC website says virtually nothing aside from "childcare centres may apply." Paying for two kids in full-time daycare is almost impossible for us and, with two-year waitlists everywhere, there are almost no options if we need a cheaper provider. Importantly, we do not want to move childcare providers - we like the home-based environment and small number of children at our daycare. Both my husband and I moved here from Alberta and we have no family support and (due to COVID), very few friends. Our daycare is like a little family and I cried myself to sleep last night wondering what we are going to do. This whole program seems to rolling out in an utterly incompetent fashion. Why are small businesses like my daycare expected to apply for an onerous program that provides them no added benefit? Why aren’t licensed daycares in good standing able to access funding automatically and immediately? Why is BC so far behind other provinces, when we had a significant head start over all of them? Why is there such limited information being provided to daycares and families? Families – already struggling and exhausted after the pandemic – are suffocating. I’m exhausted and heartsore and frustrated. I don't understand why I haven't seen any news coverage of this important issue when inflation is at a 40-year high and families are literally leaving the province because they can't survive here. I think this is a critically important issue that should be covered.

Karen McCrae

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