Mar 9, 2009

My “Universal Child Care Benefit” has evaporated to a parallel universe


I just got a letter from my daughter’s daycare that her monthly fees are going up again next month. They will now be $700. When she started at the daycare two and a half years ago, they were $600. So much for the Harper government’s much touted $100 per month child care benefit.

Recall that in 2006, the new federal government canceled the Agreement on Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) with the provinces, and introduced the so-called “Universal Child Care Benefit” of $100 per month for children under 6 years old. (Of course, the UCCB is treated as taxable income, so the real benefit is less than $100 per month, depending on your tax rate.) In early 2007, the BC government responded by announcing (needlessly, of course) that provincial child care program funding would be cut by almost 15% (or between $35 – $40 million a year). For my daughter’s daycare, this translated into a loss of $2 per child per day in operating grants. So they have been forced to increase fees ever since.

A real universal child care plan –– one that increases spaces, assures affordable fees, and pays early childhood educators a living wage –– remains far preferable.

For more background on recent cuts to federal and provincial child care funding, check out the website of the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC.

Topics: ,