Thursday, March 31, 2011

Universal Daycare Cost

Okay, I'm just going to tally up what it costs to pay the staff wages  at my daycare center, figure out how much parents would be paying if we all went to a system like in Quebec ($7/day), and then let you know how much all you fine taxpayers would be shelling out to help run my small 21 child center.

Current monthly fee per child (second lowest in my city): 630/month
Number of children: 21
Total current monthly income: $13,230/month

Number of staff: 4 (minimum number of staff needed to comply with regulations of child:staff ratio)
Full Timers: 3 @ $12/hour, avg 178 hours/month (based on 8.5 hour days X 21 working days)
                  = $6408/month in wages (not including holiday pay, months with more working days, etc)
Part Timer: 1 @ 12/hour approx $1500/month (fluctuates with need)
Total Wages: $7908/month in wages (which is about 60% of total income)

If parents start paying $7/day, the total income would change to approx $147/child/month (based on 21 days attendance)... 21 children = $3087 total income under a universal daycare program similar to Quebec.

So right off the bat, $4821 has to come from the govt (aka Tax Payers) just to pay our staff wages every month. Just for one small daycare in a small city that is about half the cost of care in larger cities. That is over $57,000 a year. And we have not even added in the cost of food, running the business itself (building lease or mortgage fees, license costs, food permits, utilities, etc). And we also do not know how much our wages would be. Would they be increased? Decreased? No mention of that, as far as I have seen.

According to CBC news last year, over half of the children in Canada aged 6 months to 5 years were in the care of someone other than a parent. By 2004, there were over half a million daycare spaces in Canada (this does not include dayhomes, kincare, etc). The supporters of national daycare obviously want this number to increase, because they want more families to be able to afford care and go back to work, but let's just say it's at 500,000 spaces across Canada for this program - how much money is that going to cost? I only make $12/hour as it is to help parents be able to afford care but people in larger cities cannot afford to live on that amount, so the funding to those centers would be even higher.

There are 15 centers in my city, and mine is the second SMALLEST. Just using my center's tally as an example, that would mean well over $800,000 a year would be given to centers in my city alone in order to pay low staff wages(again, keep in mind, that was done WITHOUT the cost of food and business costs). My city is the 7th smallest in my province. You do the math yourself. Even if all the cities in my province received the same amount of funding, that is over $5 million dollars a year - but that is a preposterously low amount. I'm just trying to make it easier for you to expand to the Big Picture on your own. What would the cost be in Vancouver? Toronto? Ottawa?

If you still think this would be a sustainable program - also keep this in mind. Every center in my city is full with long waiting lists. It's not like when/if this program goes into place, everyone will magically be able to put their kids in care and go back to work. None of the centers in my city will be able to help you with that. You can call us every day if you like, but we are completely full and will remain so. We are not allowed to take any more children or we would be in direct violation of several regulations, and then we would be shut down. So go ahead - be told that you can pay only $7/day and get all excited - but good luck finding a place to take your child. We would be completely inundated with calls when we already have a waiting list that is longer than how many spaces we have - and that's with parents having to pay several hundred dollars a month; imagine what our waiting list will look like if parents can pay a fraction of that?

It all looks good on paper until someone whips out their calculator......


  1. The Daycare battle is at its core really about a clash of worldviews. Do you believe that parents should be given utmost authority in deciding how to raise the child and which values to inculcate in them or do you want the government to liberate women and raise their children for them? Wasn't it G.K. Chesterton who said that "feminism is mixed up with a muddled idea that women are free when they serve their employers but slaves when they help their husbands"?

  2. I want to know why we aren't being told the cost to the provinces. In Michael Ignatieff's own words, how can Canadians be expected to pay for something if the Liberals are unwilling to give us the costs? Isn't that being contemtpuous of voters?

  3. Pitiful amount indeed. Daycare seems to be one area where Liberals have been successful in pulling the wool over people's eyes. In Ontario the all-day kindergarten program alone is expected to cost $1 billion per year when fully implemented -- that is just for an additional 1/2 day of care. Their funding provides next to nothing -- as was also the case when Paul Martin offered funding for daycare. It is time the media was a bit honest about this.

  4. Taking your $13000 less the 3000 the parents kick in from the $7/day, that leaves about 10000 that has to be made up. Divided by 21 kids, I get $476 per kid per month must come from the government. For half a million kids, the total would be almost 240 million each month or 2.8 billion each year.

    John M Reynolds

  5. Keep in mind, Mr Reynolds, that I live in a very small city, and my center is the second cheapest for monthly fees, out of 15 total centers. In places like Calgary and Edmonton, the monthly avg fees are about double. I have no idea what the cost of daycare is in Vancouver, Toronto, etc. So that is low balling it by far.

    2.8 billion a year based on the lowest possible amount we could factor in, and Ignatieff promised 500 million within the past couple of days on the campaign trail. Oopsy, where is the rest going to come from?

  6. 1st Anonymous commenter - I typed up a reply this morning but it went awal :(

    I basically said that I have tried that approach with others and they do not seem to understand what I am getting at. So I try now to hit them with real numbers because I have worked in daycare, in the same center, since 1995 (barring a few years when I lived overseas again and in BC). But I have been there steadily since 2004.

  7. Oops my bad, I also meant to post to enquire about regulated dayhomes - are they going to be included in this as well? I have no idea what the number of children cared for in regulated dayhomes is but the parents putting children in there currently, in my province of AB at least, can access subsidy. Would that program continue as well? Current full time subsidy for daycare is over $540/month, dayhomes are a bit less than that but still hundreds of dollars. Will that continue or will those parents as well have access to $7/day.

    I am not even sure if it will be $7/day. I do not recall hearing Ignatieff speaking directly about that amount yet, I am just going off the Quebec system. Quebec - a province that receives a ton of funding from other provinces in Equalization payments or it wouldnt be able to afford half the stuff it offers to it's people.

  8. And people wonder why they are told to avoid Conservative Blogs, who want to spread lies about LIEberal policies.

    Logic seems to leave the LIEberals minds when you mention the Cons. Will they ever be surprised IF the Coalition takes over an elected government with the most seats per party. At least the EnviroMENTALists Elizabeth May will not be in the debate .... one can only hope [she said she will attend ... wonder what she has up her sleve.]



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