Daycare cuts will hurt business owners and parents, operators say
Loss of salary top-up will force some daycares to charge more or close, say Jean Robinson and Connie Wheaton
Some private daycare operators in the Fredericton area say the Liberal government's decision to cut their subsidies will hurt business owners and parents who need affordable daycare.
In many cases, it will mean $5 an hour cut from their salaries.
Jean Robinson, the owner/operator of the Lincoln Daycare Centre, says the only way her business will be able to survive is to charge more, which she doesn't want to do.
"Some parents at my centre have told me before they pay more for child care than they do their mortgage, but to have their children in a quality, accessible, inclusive, licensed child care centre matters to them, so they pay that amount," she said.
Some operators may also have to cut medical, dental and life insurance for staff, said Robinson.
And some may be forced to close, leaving parents with fewer choices for care.
I know for sure that three have notified their parents that if this goes [ahead as scheduled], they will have no choice but to close their centre.-Jean Robinson, Lincoln Daycare Centre owner/operator
"In speaking with colleagues from around the province, I know for sure that three have notified their parents that if this goes [ahead as scheduled], they will have no choice but to close their centre."
Robinson worries more parents will end up going to unlicensed facilities and the quality of care will diminish.
Connie Wheaton, who operates and teaches at Montessori World daycare, agrees.
Wheaton organized a meeting of daycare operators in Fredericton Tuesday to discuss the matter before they take their case to the province.
She says she wouldn't have gone through the trouble and expense of becoming a licensed facility if she had known the cut was coming.
"I'm a teacher on the floor and now basically I'm not going to be because I'm not getting the same as any other educator or daycare worker. I will be making less than my staff," she said.
"So I would have never bought a business that I have to run. And then also not even being a valued — because I have my early childhood degree. I really take pride in that and now I'm not getting any credit for that. So in my centre it doesn't matter that I have that, I won't be getting the top-up for it."
The Quality Improvement Funding Program, which is designed to increase the availability and quality of child daycare services in the province by boosting salaries of the people who work in the industry on a scale based on their level of training, will receive $1.9 million less in funding, starting in June.
Daycare staff will continue to receive the subsidy, but the cut will affect 260 owner/operators.
In a statement to child care operators last week, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development said the $1.9 million in savings is to be "reinvested" elsewhere in the early learning and childcare sector for "professional development opportunities."