Robert’s column

Robert Barron column: Universal child care good for families, and society

I’m pleased that the province is stepping in to start providing $10-per-day childcare spaces

I’ve not, to date anyway, been fortunate enough to become a parent.

There are a lot of responsibilities that go with the role and I’ve learned through a lifetime of observation that parenthood is certainly not a nine-to-five job, to say the least.

I’ve heard many tales from parents who are my friends and colleagues, including two young parents of two toddlers that work in the Citizen’s newsroom, that have led me to understand that expecting eight hours of sleep a night is but a dream for them.

But on top of the constant turmoil in parents’ daily lives after their children are born, there are also heavy expenses that having youngsters can incur; including expensive clothes they grow out of every few months, endless supplies of diapers, food and, of course, the costs of day care.

I’ve known parents who barely make above the minimum wage who have had to fork over about $1,200 a month to have just one child spend eight hours a day in a day care.

That’s about the monthly cost of a mortgage or rent for many young families starting out, which is typically the largest single bill they are responsible for covering every 30 days or so.

That’s a big drain on many families’ budgets, and I’ve known lots of parents who have had to cut numerous extras and even essential purchases from their spending to make ends meet.

Mind you, I don’t blame the day cares for having to charge what is necessary to cover their own overhead costs, including paying for staff and rent or mortgage on the building where the day care is housed.

That’s why I’m pleased that the province is stepping in to start providing $10-per-day childcare spaces in many places across B.C.

It was an election promise that I was doubtful that the NDP government would actually put in place when they came to office.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives estimates a $10-a-day universal child-care program for B.C. would cost $1.5 billion a year.

But the left-leaning think tank argues the cost would largely be made up through increased tax revenues as more women enter and remain in the workforce.

I hope they are correct and the pilot program that was recently announced takes off and these spaces are made readily available throughout B.C.

In the Cowichan Valley, Parkside Academy, a not-for-profit child-care centre in Duncan, is one of 53 centres in B.C. that has been chosen by the province as a Universal Child Care Prototype Site.

One local family has seen their monthly daycare fees dramatically reduced, from paying a rate of $925 to just $200 per month, as a result.

Kelly Hall and Xituluq Hwitsum, parents of two-year-old Chase who attends Parkside Academy, said Parkside had already been able to give them peace of mind while being away from their son throughout the day so they can attend work, and the reduced costs are a big bonus.

“As parents, having our monthly fees dramatically reduced has been an incredible incentive which has enabled us to be able to afford quality child care for Chase to receive the best possible start (in life),” they said.

Children are our greatest resource and I’m glad to see that the government recognizes that subsidizing these child-care spaces is good for families, and the province as a whole.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

CVRD testing Shawnigan water after complaints of metallic taste, odour

“This type of problem has come up a number of times in summers in the past”

Chris Wilkinson column: It’s not too early to reflect

It’s time for the next great migration! A migration back out of the house. To ‘somewhat normal’.

Cowichan residents invited to join Walk for Alzheimer’s online

Taking place on Sunday, May 31, the online event will start at 9 a.m.

Duncan Lanes bowlers take on the best in B.C.

The best results for the Cowichan Valley bowlers came in the intermediate girls division

Sonia Furstenau column: Now the time to make changes for the better

This coronavirus has given us opportunity to identify what matters most in our day-to-day lives.

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Island Health signs working agreement to turn former Comox hospital into a ‘dementia village’

Island Health has signed a project development agreement with Providence Living to… Continue reading

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Most Read