Staffing woes cause spike in daycare costs
All-day kindergarten drawing away qualified workers
Rising staffing costs and the refusal of the province to provide predictable funding are the major reasons why parents are paying more for the service, Sudbury daycare representatives say.
Many child-care workers are jumping to the all-day kindergarten program because of the higher pay offered by school boards, Mary-Lou Coffey, executive director at Walden Day Care, told CBC News.
The competition has forced daycares to bump up wages and improve benefit packages to keep qualified workers, Coffey said, and those costs end up being passed to parents.
"We've got families saying their child-care costs are more than their mortgage — it's the highest portion of their family budget."
Coffey says the province should give daycare centres a set budget for the year, rather than basing funding on the ever-changing number of children enrolled. The number of children attending her daycare often fluctuates, she said, and it took a serious dip during the year-long miners' strike in Sudbury.
"Agencies need to know that they have an x-amount of dollars coming in so they can pay these bills," Coffey said.
Greg Humphrey with the Association of Day Care Operators of Ontario agrees.
"The equivalent would be, say, going into a coffee shop and telling them they can't sell coffee any more, but they can keep selling everything else on their menu," Humphrey said, adding if the province doesn't find a way to stabilize the industry dozens of daycare centres could go out of business.