Edmonton

Minimum wage increase will increase daycare fees, owner says

The Alberta NDP government plans to increase the hourly wage by $1 on Oct. 1, with an aim of getting it to $15 by 2018. An owner of 18 daycares in the Edmonton area says that will increase fees.

People who run daycares say the increase in Alberta's minimum wage will increase child care costs.

The Alberta NDP government plans to increase the hourly wage by $1 on Oct. 1, with an aim of phasing in more increases to hit $15 an hour by 2018.

Curtis Stewart owns Little Einstein Daycare, which has 18 centres in the Edmonton area. He expects fees  will increase by about $80 a month in October.

Stewart says his fees will keep increasing each year as the minimum wage goes up. He doesn't know how parents will manage.

"'It's such a fine line between what parents can afford and what the staff can make," he said. "People who can barely make it now, I don't know what they're going to do."

Suzanne McLean, executive director at Oliver Centre daycare, says she doesn't expect her fees will increase this fall.

McLean says she gets two or three calls each day from parents who can't afford the fees elsewhere. She expects to get more calls as fees go up.

"People who are trying to better their lives, who are trying to get educations, who are trying to better their families, are unable to do that if they have to pay large fees for child care," she said.

"So, in all essence, we need to make sure that fees are affordable for families."

Stewart hopes the Alberta government will provide more subsidies to help parents and staff.

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