Alberta daycares reporting high turnover amid economic slump

WATCH ABOVE: For years, parents have had to get on a wait list for daycare in Calgary, but the economic slump in Alberta means many families are now giving up their childcare spaces. Global’s Mia Sosiak reports.

The economic slump in Alberta appears to be having an impact on daycares and dayhomes in the province.

Operators are reporting greater turnover and shorter wait lists.

“I used to tell people on the wait list if you’re looking for a spot in November or February, March, chances are we won’t have them.  Now I’m telling families to be ready for 30 days notice,” said Michele Serpanchy, owner of Creative Tree Early Learning Centre in Calgary.

While there are no specific numbers available, the Alberta Child Care Association said some of the highest turnover is at oil patch corporate daycares.

Laura Rathgeber is one parent that has been impacted by lower oil prices.

“My husband, in September, unfortunately was laid off,” said Rathgeber.

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“He is in the home (construction) industry and they have been affected just like everybody else,” she added.

As a consequence, the family was one of five that had no choice but to give up their daycare space.

Alberta dayhomes also have more vacancies than usual, but not enough to eliminate waiting lists entirely.

That means while they may not have to wait as long, some families are still scrambling to find spaces for their children.

In the meantime, the Rathgebers have found a dayhome with lower monthly fees for their daughter.

“We are lucky we found another good one, and that’s just also showing you that there’s availability in a lot of places right now in the same scenario as us,” said Laura Rathgeber.