Thursday, March 10, 2011

National Child Care

I just read an article on CTV Montreal's webpage regarding 'national childcare'. I noted that within the article, a woman is quoted as saying ""I want to contribute to society,"" but the article goes on to add that 'childcare for Lily [her child] would cost $16,000 each year, a good chunk of the salary she expects to earn as an early childhood educator.... 

Okay so what they are saying is that the govt, federal and provincial levels, should be putting more taxpayer dollars into the system so that parents are not charged so much for monthly childcare fees. Okay - but how exactly is the parent contributing to society then? As a good early childhood educator, helping preschool age kiddos - yes that is a good thing. But the taxes she pays, and the taxes of all those around her, would be largely going to the funding of the program and running the program, and paying her wages --- and not out into 'the economy'. There are several plans out there and the one I hear about the most is $7/day daycare.... okay so that means about $150 a month for full time use of a daycare/dayhome/etc. One staff member should get a minimum of $2000/month and they can only look after 3-10 children, depending on the age of each child, and therefore the MOST money paid by parents toward one staff member's wage is $1500/month. Where is the rest of that staff member's wage going to come from? Oh that's right - tax dollars. Where are the building fees, supply costs, food costs, support staff, etc dollars going to come from if the money each parent pays for fees doesn't even pay ONE staff member for a month? Oh that's right - tax payers yet again.

How much exactly is being contributed to society in such a situation? Whether a person wants to take a job at McDonald's as a janitor, or as a professor at a University, or as an airline pilot, doctor, psychologist, etc, they could all be paying the same monthly fee. If we are going to talk about being 'fair', is it fair that someone making $200,000 a year could end up paying the same amount for daycare fees as a person making $20,000 or less per year?

This also relates to my earlier post about things being in a vicious cycle. If daycare fees are lowered, that means more tax dollars are being pushed into the system, but then taxes may increase, which may cause daycares and other businesses to raise their wages so staff can survive, so then parent portion for fees may increase, then they may call for more tax dollars to supplement - and on and on it goes and goes and none of us get anywhere at all.

But by all means people - if you choose to enter a lowerpaying workforce (as in the woman in the article who already has a degree in science, and also has a college diploma in something else - but now CHOOSES to go back to university again to work in ECD which is notoriously a lower paying field (you know, so we dont have to charge parents more and more and more,,,,,,),,,, and then complain that daycare costs too much.

In my small city, the avg is about $700/month for childcare. In the bigger cities it is over $1000/month per child. But for it to be less, the staff working there have to take a pay cut, or tax payer dollars have to be funneled in when there already isn't enough to go around to programs as it is. And I see a very vicious cycle about to erupt.

Be careful what you wish for, is all I can say!


  1. I'm ticked this fickle woman has already cost us taxpayers a ruddy fortune in subsidizing her addiction to (apparently) useless, unfulfilling degrees.

  2. I believe she is married, so to be fair, I don't know how much of our tax dollars went to support her career choices (but of course unis and colleges get a lot of funding too, not just ECD and K-12 programs)...

    I took my job knowing that the pay wasn't going to be high, but I had the chance to keep my children with me in the center and that was a big bonus for me. Full time working mom who also gets to be with her kids. Not bad! However, once my youngest is in school, I am going to branch out and try something else for higher pay because I know that what I am doing now is not going to be enough to keep us afloat. Right now we are choosing to sacrifice some extra income in order to make sure the kids are with at least one parent most of the time. I would not expect others to help me pay my daycare bill right now, even if it meant I could get away with paying $150/month.

    I also wonder how staff wages would be determined if the vast majority of income came from tax money. Who would decide how much each staffer makes? Surely one center could not pay $16/hour and another pay $12/hour and yet another pay $8/hour if the govt is paying the wages. Surely they would be determining our wages too? How would they work it out? I have been at my job since 1995, my coworker since 1980, another for 6 years... my boss for 30+ years -- would we suddenly be making the same per hour as people fresh out of college? Why should the govt determine my wage if this program is put in, rather than my boss, the business owner who hired me and knows me best?

    If the only income is $7/day from parents and we are not allowed to charge more, then we would be totally at the mercy of the govt for our wages. Since when should that be an option? My center is considered a PRIVATE business. Apparently some places can choose to remain private under these proposals = but I wonder what our chances would be at attracting families if our fees are $640 a month and the place next door is $150 a month. No matter how 'great' we were and how good our word of mouth advertising is, we could be left floundering. I thought the govt was not supposed to have a monopoly?! So it's a bit scary for me to think about what a national daycare program actually MEANS to tax payers, parents, staff, and most of all - the children. I guess we will find out one of these days, eh?

  3. Indeed, the whole childcare industry needs to be completely privatized. What we have now, as you say, is the completely untenable situation where government, in cahoots with unions and special interest groups, is in direct competition with private businesses. It's not an accident. It's an attempt to completely socialize the childcare industry. It will cost Canadians billions more just in union pensions that will inevitably result. If we must be forced to take responsibility for someone else's children (or if I must be forced to allow someone to take responsibility for mine) then use tax credits based on income. The situation as it is now simply caters to special interest groups, reduces parents' choice in childcare and is prohibitively expensive.

  4. Last I heard, students in post-secondary education only paid about 20% of the cost of their schooling. Can't find a reference, and think their % might be higher, but every student is definitely subsidized by the rest of us.

    It galls me that bringing up one's own children is not considered contributing to society. When ours were young, I spent a lot of time volunteering around the children's needs, to the extent that the kids would say I was a 'professional volunteer' when asked what their mother did. There are lots of opportunities in the volunteer sector, and even some which allow chldren. One friend volunteered at a seniors' home, helping with the crafts program, and took her young son with her. Said son was a real hit with the seniors, and many attended the sessions just to be with him.



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