PENTICTON — It’s supposed to be the first week of school, instead, some B.C. families are looking for alternative childcare.
Kris Hartvigsen has taken an extra week off to spend with his family, extending their long weekend.
“We decided that we’re going to do something fun with the kids, instead of sitting around in Vancouver and waiting for the strike to be over,” he says.
But if the strike isn’t over by the time his vacation is, he will rely on help from his family to take care of his young children while him and his wife go to work.
Hartvigsen is one of tens of thousands of parents who are affected by the teachers’ labour dispute.
Teachers have been on a full-scale strike for 11 weeks now, and the two sides don’t seem any closer to a contract settlement.
The BC government is subsidizing the cost of childcare: $40 a day for children under the age of 13.
But parents won’t be reimbursed until after the labour dispute is over.
“I think for a lot of people, they can’t put that money upfront. It’s going to be challenging,” says Candice Newhouse, another parent.
No one knows when school will be back in session, but the Sharma family is shopping for school supplies just in case.
“I really want school to start, and not have to wait,” says eighth-grader Barti Sharma, “I like school, and I want to get an education.”