Rory Richards is the mother of three children, including two 5-year-old twins. Over the past five years, she estimates she’s spent more than $5,000 putting them on waiting lists in hopes of getting a spot.

Considering the number of child care centers to call, you can imagine the financial burden, in addition to the emotional stress [que toute cette recherche implique]she laments.

According to Ms. Richards, some child care centers don’t even confirm to parents whether they have spaces available until parents fill out an application and pay the fees.

Moreover, as the whole process does not guarantee obtaining a place, she questions the validity of this system: The fact that I haven’t been called in the last five years by any of these centers really calls into question the legitimacy of these charges.

Geronimo Ratcliffe meanwhile refused to pay to register his 2-year-old daughter on daycare waiting lists, also accusing the relevance of these methods and the transparency of the establishments.

How do I know if I’ve even been added to the waitlist? If the government does not regulate this process, why should I pay? »

A quote from Geronimo Ratcliffe
Geronimo Ratcliffe in a park in Vancouver on May 21, 2022.

Geronimo Ratcliffe, a father from Vancouver, wonders about the relevance of the methods and the transparency of certain establishments.

Photo: Radio-Canada

A source of revenue for some daycares

According to the spokesperson for the BC Child Care Coalition (Coalition of Childcare Advocates of British Columbia), Sharon Gregson, wait list fees charged by some child care centers are nothing new.

Some charge a small fee, like $20, to help offset some administrative costsshe explains. But other for-profit daycares take advantage of parents’ desperation and charge hefty waitlist fees that aren’t refundable and don’t guarantee a spot..

She regrets that this system is becoming a source of income for these establishments.

The problem is systemic in nature, in his view, and to deal with it, the province should tackle the compensation of workers in the field.

A fair province-wide salary grid would ensure fair overall compensation for educatorsshe believes.

One solution, places at $10 per day

In response to these concerns, British Columbia Minister of State for Early Childhood, Katrina Chen, says she is aware of wait list fees at some child care centers, saying she herself has had to pay for enrolled his son there several years ago.

She says the province is studying the issue and, more broadly, finding ways to make child care more affordable for parents.

Katrina Chen said parents now have access to 6,500 $10-a-day child care spaces in British Columbia, and that these subsidized spaces will increase to 12,500 by the end of 2022.

She clarified that child care centers participating in this program are not allowed to charge parents a fee for registering on a waiting list.

The Premier of British Columbia flanked by the Mayor of Vancouver and the Minister of State for Early Childhood at an announcement in Vancouver, July 4, 2019.

British Columbia Premier John Horgan flanked by Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart (to his right) and Minister of State for Early Childhood Katrina Chen (to his left) during a announcement in Vancouver in July 2019.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Maggie MacPherson

According to the minister, the province must both reduce the costs of childcare for parents, but also support the providers of these services.

In this regard, Katrina Chen mentions that a salary supplement of $4 per hour is offered to all people who work in early childhood.

With information from Georgie Smyth and Michelle Gomez

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