British Columbia

Striking B.C. teachers go online to offer daycare

Many striking teachers in B.C. are setting up day camps and child-care services starting next week, under the expectation children won't be back in class when schools usually start a new year.

B.C. laws allow unlicenced daycares to take up to 2 children who are not their own.

With no end in sight to the ongoing contract dispute, B.C.'s striking teachers resumed picketing outside schools this week. Now some teachers are offering child care for parents who have nowhere to put their kids once classes are supposed to resume next week. (CBC)

Many striking teachers in B.C. are setting up day camps and child-care services starting next week, under the expectation children won't be back in class when schools usually start a new year.

Ads for the day-long educational daycare services are appearing on Craigslist and other online sites, along with ads from many other child-care providers offering services during the provincewide strike.

Surrey teacher Olga Orth says she and her colleague are prepared to take in up to 12 students if a settlement with the province isn't reached by next week.

"We've just decided to help out parents struggling to find daycare for their school-aged children, because parents are going to be stressed out," said Orth.

"It's such a long summer for kids already, and they usually lose a lot of their learning already over just a regular 10-week summer.

"We thought, let's just try and help parents put their children where they know they're going to be cared for, plus they're going to get that education that they're missing."

She and her colleague are offering to take care of children for $40 a day — the same amount the government has offered to pay parents of schoolchildren under the age of 13 if the strike isn't settled by Sept. 2.

"We've got four kids signed up now. It's kind of kicking off right now. We're thinking we might have more inquiries."

'Looking for child care in September?'

Another ad for South Surrey reads:

"Looking for Childcare in September should the strike continue? I am an English teacher (20 years exp.) and mother available to care for up to 3 school aged children in my home. Activities will include games, crafts, baking, walks and other outings. $40 per day."

According to the B.C. Health Ministry website, a person without a licence may care for their own children in their home and two children that are not related to them by blood or marriage.

B.C. teachers have been on strike for months, with the scheduled start of classes just a few days away. (CBC)

The ministry cautions parents that it doesn't monitor unlicensed facilities and parents are responsible for assessing the quality of care and to use these services at their own risk. 

B.C.'s 41,000 teachers have been on strike and locked out since June. Teachers resumed picketing at schools this week and negotiations appear to have been stalled for most of the summer.

Schools are scheduled to start on Sept. 2, but the government has promised it will not legislate teachers back to work and has warned parents to be prepared for children to be out of school until the contract dispute is settled.