KELOWNA – With the teachers dispute dragging on parents are looking for childcare options for September and the province has promised parents 40 dollars per day to help offset costs.
One Kelowna mother, however, is crying foul when it comes to what her childcare provider is charging.
Joleen, who doesn’t want her last name used, believes The Clubhouse Childcare Centre is over charging asking for significantly more than their summer day camp fee.
“They are just trying to gouge the people,” she says.
Joleen says four weeks of camp at the centre cost $600 in the summer.
But for care during the strike, the non-profit is charging 40 dollars a day which would add up to 800 dollars over four weeks.
Joleen points out that’s the same amount the province has pledged per child 12 and under if the dispute continues.
“They are now taking [the] 40 dollars that was supposed to come from the government to help parents pay for additional costs,” says Joleen.
On top of that, the centre is also charging its regular before and after school care fee, bringing the total cost for a month of childcare to more than a thousand dollars.
The Clubhouse Childcare Centre’s executive director, Caroline Noga, says fees may be higher but their costs are also sky rocketing due to the labour dispute.
“Two of our programs were within the school system. We can’t cross the picket lines so we’ve had to find at least two if not three different rental units,” says Noga. “We have to employee seven more staff.”
The non-profit also points out parents aren’t paying more than usual because the province is footing the extra bill.
“We aren’t charging any more then the government’s giving. But that will help defray all the cost for our programs,” says Noga. “Every penny is going for the cost of care. It’s more expensive then people realize.”
On its website the province says the funds are “to help with learning and supervision”.
“Those would have been additional funds to me for me to pay for a lot of things. Being a part-time worker I’m always on a tight budget. That would have helped alleviate a lot of costs for me,” says Joleen.