Election 2015: How childcare impacts Kelowna’s affordability

Not enough spaces and too high a cost is a lament heard from one end of the country to the other.

Amanda Parks was born and raised in Kelowna and now has two children of her own, under the age of three.

For most of their lives she’s been a stay-at-home-mom, relying on her husband to be the sole breadwinner.

Living on one income in a city as expensive as Kelowna can be pretty tough, however, so last month she opted to take a retail job.

“I can only work at night because daycare is too expensive,” she said. “My husband works during the day and he watches the kids when I’m gone.”

In many daycares around Kelowna, full time child-minding costs somewhere in the area of $800-plus a month. Families that qualify for subsidy pay significantly less, but, then again, they make less, as well.

So, the incentive to stay at home for Parks, and many people in her position, is pretty high.

After she found a way to balance her family obligations and work, however, she looked into another childcare option.

Her eldest child is the right age for pre-school, which is aimed at getting young people ready for kindergarten. She found a place near her home in the Mission, but it’s not going to work yet.

“It was so hard because they were asking for too much,” she said, pointing out for three days a week, and three hours a day, preschool costs in the area of $200 a month.

It was only spot available at a school in her area, but she still had to take a pass.

“I’ll look again in January, but the hard part will be finding a spot,” she said.

Not enough spaces and too high a cost is a lament heard from one end of the country to the other.

Earlier this year,the Parliamentary Budget Officer published a report titled How Much Does the Federal Government Spend on Child Care and Who Benefits?

In 2013-2014, Canadian families spent $5.7 billion in child care expenses. This represents five per cent of  the average Canadian family’s total household  expenses.

It’s a heavy burden, and the federal government currently has two initiatives explicitly and directly linked to defraying the costs of child care expenses; the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) and the Child Care Expense Deduction (CCED).

The value of  child care benefits grew from $0.6 billion in 2004 2005 to approximately $3.3 billion in 2013-2014, amounting to 59 per cent of what Canadian families were spending on child care in 2013 to 2014.

Some have said, however, that this isn’t enough.

As the campaign has heated up candidates for each party have spoken out about what they would like to do to enhance or change what is already being done.

NDP…

Proposed a universal daycare system. The party’s plan is to spend $5 billion a year after an eight-year phase-in to pay for a million existing and new child-care spaces that cost parents no more than $15 a day. The aim is to create quality, affordable child-care spaces in each province. Quebec has already instituted a similar plan and it’s been lauded for allowing more women the ability to enter the workforce and improve upon the economic stability of their families.

Conservatives…

Last year expanded the Universal Child Care Benefit program, which the Conservative government introduced in 2006. In July, it was given a one-time boost of $3-billion to the UCCB. The plan is what Prime Minister Stephen Harper has called “mom and dad know best” strategy.

Liberals…

Calls national child-care program “impractical and unfair,” but party also claims it would rework what’s pre-existing with a national “framework” negotiated with provinces, territories and aboriginal groups. Would also work with provinces to introduce a “flexible” system of parental benefits that would let parents take time off in smaller blocks, or in a longer block with reduced benefits. Liberals would also implement “Canada Child Benefit” of up to $533 a month per child, supported in part by a tax hike on wealthier Canadians and tax cuts for the middle class.

Green Party…

Greens committed to a high-quality federally-funded child care program in Canada, accessible to any family that wants to place children into early childhood education. Party also wants to focus on workplace child care as party believes it has been shown to improve productivity, decrease employee absenteeism, ensure quality care for children and permits longer breast-feeding of infants. If elected, Greens would also accelerate the creation of workplace child care spaces through a direct tax credit to employers (or groups of employers in small businesses) of $1500 tax credit/child per year.

The Childcare Advocacy Association of Canada has a thorough run-through of all the issues as they see them, and where the parties stand. For more information go to http://ccaac.ca.

Just Posted

Vehicle rollover on Highway 33

Emergency crews are responding to a single vehicle rollover near Big White Road

Vernon one of Canada’s most dangerous places

Penticton, Kamloops, Kelowna, Lake Country and Salmon Arm also make Maclean’s list

Fence to go up along part of Mission Creek

360 metres of chain-link fence to go up in Mission Creek Regional Park

Uber official says public needs to push for ridesharing in B.C.

Mike van Hemmen tells Kelowna Chamber of commerce ridesharing would be ‘win-win-win’

Three-vehicle accident on Highway 33

Crews are on the scene of the multi vehicle collision about 10 kms east of Kelowna

Okanagan ski hills open for the season

Both Big White and Silverstar Resort open for the 2017-18 season Thursday

Four years for discharging shotgun in home, school break-in

Yvon Martel also threatened his wife and broke into an elementary school

Traci Genereaux: Gone, but not forgotten

COLUMN: Family, friends want justice for Vernon teen

An adopted cat is the best 10 pounds you’ll gain this season

BC SPCA encouraging families to add a forever feline friend during adoption event Nov. 24 to Dec. 3

Up close and personal roots performance on Vernon stage

The Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Society presents William Prince Nov. 29-30

B.C. co-ops relieved with Ottawa’s housing strategy

Federal government to have a new co-operative housing funding model in place by 2020

Letter to the editor: Missing woman’s parents appreciate search effort

To take part in the banner drop, poster distribution and the drone… Continue reading

B.C. NDP referendum plan sparks legislature battle

David Eby says public will decide on proportional referendum

Hammy has been freed of his threads, a purple antler remains

The iconic Prince Rupert buck with a piece of hammock attached to his antlers was caught by COs

Most Read